It is a gloomy day for anyone who receives a notice of overpayment from Social Security (SSA). It can be just a misunderstanding, or something more serious. If the government thinks you have received too much money – that is what this term really means – then you must quickly set about trying to straighten it out.
It may happen because you did not report some change to Social Security– as examples, perhaps you didn’t tell them that you had some income, or started working, that a child moved out of your house, or that your child began getting child support. We always recommend hand-delivering this information in writing to a Social Security district office, and taking along a second copy that they can date-stamp it, verifying receipt.
Even more frequently, you may have reported the change appropriately, but Social Security doesn’t have it in their computers. There may have been a delay by SSA in making the adjustment in your check, causing an overpayment.
Here is a nice Legal Services site that details all the steps to take if you get such a notice. It is important to act immediately. In some cases, benefits can continue while the investigation is completed. There is also a process for settlement if you are found to owe the money. We have found that they are authorized to accept offers of 80% of the amount owed.