Social Security Agency seeks repayment from Americans due to overpayment.

A bevy of recent reports has indicated that some Americans are receiving demands from the Social‌ Security Administration to repay the agency after they were overpaid⁣ on their benefits.

A bevy of recent reports⁢ has indicated ⁤that ⁤ some Americans are receiving demands from the Social Security Administration to repay the ⁣agency after they were overpaid⁢ on⁣ their benefits.

According to those published reports, the issue tends to arise when the agency overpays⁣ people ⁢who are receiving workers’ compensation payments. A recent Social Security Administration⁢ inspector⁤ general’s‌ report (pdf) found‍ that the administration collected about ⁣$4.7 ‍billion ⁣in repayments in 2022, while ​about $22​ billion remains outstanding.

For example, ​an Ohio ⁢nursing ⁢home worker told KFF News in a recent article that she has multiple health problems, including an⁢ artificial heart and cerebral palsy, and was getting about‍ $862 a month and receiving ‌about $1,065⁣ in monthly⁣ Social ⁢Security disability benefits when she received a letter from the SSA saying she was being overpaid. ‌What’s more, the agency said that ⁢it wanted the money ‌back and told​ her to mail a check with ‌the money in 30 days for ⁢about $60,000.

A Texas⁣ woman ‌who spoke to Fox4‌ TV on Thursday said she received a⁤ similar demand from the SSA,⁣ saying she was overpaid‌ and wanted the money back. The letter, according to the woman, wanted her to pay about $41,000, although she said an employee admitted to her that a mistake was made.

“She called me and told ‍me, ‘Yeah, I‍ made the mistake. I’m human,'” Danielle Prisock told Fox4. “I’m human as well, I said, and I ‍didn’t make the ​mistake.”

The Social Security Administration makes payments for a variety‌ of reasons. Benefits are paid based on one’s earnings record if they are aged 62 or older or if one has ‌a‍ disability or enough work credits.

Agency Responds

The Epoch Times has not received an SSA comment yet on these reports, but a spokesperson for the agency told multiple local ⁢news⁢ outlets that it​ handles overpayments on a case-by-case basis.

“Social Security is required by‍ law to adjust benefits or recover debts when we establish⁤ that someone received payments to which they are not entitled and an overpayment occurs. We must maintain our responsibilities to taxpayers to be good ⁢stewards of the trust funds,” the ‌agency spokesperson⁢ told the outlet.

Adding that fewer than 0.5 percent of Social Security payments are overpayments, the spokesperson said that “each‍ person’s situation is unique, ​and we handle overpayments on a case-by-case basis.”

“Overpayments can occur for many reasons, such ⁤as when a beneficiary does not timely report work or other‌ changes​ that ⁤can affect⁢ their benefits,” the SSA spokesperson⁤ added. “We continually strive to improve stewardship of ​our programs and reduce improper payments. While staffing losses ⁤and resource constraints have challenged​ our service delivery, our ‌payment accuracy rates remain very high.”

What the IG Report Found

In ‍late 2022, the SSA’s inspector ⁣general report said that overpayments or underpayments can occur when the SSA makes “mistakes in computing” or “fails to obtain or act on available information” about the recipient.

It found that ‌a number of SSA workers “incorrectly input student ‌information⁤ on beneficiaries’ records,⁣ which resulted in SSA underpaying ​an estimated‍ 14,470 beneficiaries approximately $59.5 million” ⁢in 2022.

And, according to⁢ the IG report, it estimated ⁢the SSA “could have avoided approximately 73,000 overpayments totaling‍ more than $368 million if it⁣ had effective controls over benefit-computation accuracy.”

But Rebecca Vallas, a⁢ senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, suggested that the problem is worse than being reported.

“We have an overpayment crisis on our hands,” she told the Atlanta ⁣Journal-Constitution this ​month. “Overpayments push ⁤already struggling beneficiaries even deeper ​into poverty and hardship, which is directly⁢ counterproductive to the goals of safety-net programs.”

Jack Smalligan of the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, told the outlet that most ‌people who are⁣ getting overpayments are likely on disability⁤ and can’t afford⁢ to repay the agency.‌ Some overpayments can also ​result from an error on the beneficiary’s​ part, he said.

Payment Increases Soon?

As⁢ for general⁢ Social⁢ Security payments, one seniors group estimated that ‌the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will go into effect in January 2024.

The Social Security Administration is ⁣expected to announce the COLA for 2024’s benefits⁤ sometime in October, with the increased ⁢payments coming next ⁢January. The agency‌ uses ⁢the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that measures inflation during the months of July, August,⁤ and September before making its decision.

The Senior Citizens League said last ‌week that the likely Social Security COLA will be ⁢3.2 percent for‌ benefit payments in 2024. That would average out to about a $57 increase in extra benefits, raising them to about $1,790 for the‍ average recipient, it estimated in a press release.

The 3.2 percent COLA is ‍far lower than the 8.7 percent that was received⁤ for ‍2023’s payments, which was the highest increase in about four ​decades, according to the group. However, the estimated 2024 ⁣COLA ‌would be higher than the 2.6 percent average over the past ‍20 years, it⁢ said.

“Inflation was​ so ⁢severe in 2021 and ⁤2022 that the average Social Security benefit fell behind by $1,054, leaving 53 percent of retirees doubting they will recover because household costs rose more ⁢than the dollar amount of their COLAs,” Mary ⁤Johnson, with the league, told media⁣ outlets last week.

⁢ What are⁣ some common ⁤reasons for overpayments by the Social Security Administration?


This case⁣ is not an⁤ isolated incident. Many other Americans have received similar demands and are struggling to understand why they are being asked to repay⁢ money that they relied ⁣on for their⁤ basic needs.

According to the Social Security Administration, overpayments can occur for ‍various reasons, such as errors in reporting income, changes in household composition, or‌ failure to report changes in income. These overpayments ‌can⁣ happen to anyone who receives Social⁢ Security benefits, including retirees, disabled individuals,‍ and survivors of deceased beneficiaries.

The issue of ‍overpayments ⁤has gained attention recently due to the growing number⁣ of cases and the significant amount of money involved. According to⁢ the inspector general’s report, the agency has been stepping up efforts to collect overpayments and has collected over $1 billion each year since 2016. However,‍ the amount of outstanding debt remains alarmingly ⁤high at $22 billion.

The consequences of ⁢these overpayments can be devastating for individuals who are already⁢ struggling financially. The sudden demand to repay a large sum of money can⁣ lead to financial hardship and even bankruptcy. Many affected individuals are left grappling with the‍ difficult choice of⁣ how to allocate their limited resources.

It is crucial ⁤for the Social Security Administration to address this issue⁢ promptly and provide clarity to those‌ who have been affected. Efforts should be made to improve the accuracy‍ of benefit calculations and⁢ prevent overpayments from occurring in the first place. Additionally, better communication and outreach programs can help individuals understand their‍ rights and responsibilities in relation to receiving Social Security benefits.

Furthermore, the agency should establish more lenient repayment plans for individuals facing financial hardships, considering their circumstances and ability to repay. Taking a compassionate approach⁣ can alleviate⁢ the burden on affected ‌individuals and ensure that they can⁣ meet their basic​ needs ​while managing their repayment obligations.

In ‍conclusion, the issue of overpayments by ‍the Social Security Administration ‍is a pressing concern ⁢that⁣ demands attention. The agency must take proactive measures to⁢ prevent overpayments and provide support to those who have been affected. By ⁣doing so, the Social Security Administration can ⁤fulfill its mission of providing critical financial assistance to Americans in need without subjecting them to undue financial hardships.

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