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Social Security Disability Overpayment Statute Of Limitations

What Is A Social Security Overpayment

SSI, Social Security Disability, Overpayment Waiver and Retirement Part 1

If the Social Security Administration finds that you have gotten too much money in your Social Security benefit, they will send you a Notice of Overpayment. Social Security overpayments can happen for many reasons. Sometimes it is because you didnt report something that could affect your eligibility, like how much you worked despite your disability, and sometimes it is for reasons only Social Security would know about.

Defendants’ Cola Adjustments Were Not Erroneous

Plaintiff argues that defendants’ benefits calculations are not consistent with the plan’s terms for two reasons. First, she asserts that the COLA should be based upon the total amount of plaintiff’s benefits including the SSD benefits that she received. This argument is inconsistent with the terms of the plan which provides in relevant part that the COLA adjustment “applies to core and optional LTD benefits each year after the first year of LTD” . Prudential has interpreted this to mean the amount of benefits that are actually received, not SSD benefits. Defendants also note that SSD benefits are subject to a separate COLA so that if plaintiff’s interpretation were adopted, it would amount to “double dipping” of the COLA increases. Prudential’s interpretation of the plan’s language is the more reasonable one, and at the very least is not an abuse of its discretion.

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Using Paygov To Make Your Payment

Our billing notices now include the Pay.gov website information as well as a new Remittance ID. The Remittance ID is a 10-digit alphanumeric number used instead of your Social Security number for online payments. To make a payment, follow these steps:

  • Use the link in your billing notice or visit Pay.gov.
  • Enter Social Security in the search box.
  • Follow the instructions on the following page and click Continue to the Form.
  • Enter the Remittance ID number found on your billing notice and repayment amount.
  • Enter your name, address, and phone number in required fields.
  • Follow the remaining prompts to complete your payment.

You will receive an email receipt confirming your payment.

Need Help With A Social Security Overpayment

Attorneys for Hartford Disability Claims

If you request a reconsideration or waiver and the SSA denies these items, Walker & Harp, P.L.L.C can help make things right.

Our Social Security disability attorneys have many years of experience assisting people like you get justice. We know the nuances of Social Security law and can provide quality representation to get you a quick resolution with favorable outcomes.

Contact our team for a free, no-commitment consultation to get all the guidance you need.

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Ii Is It An Erisa Plan

First, in order to determine whether the law discussed in this paper applies, an attorney should determine whether a claim falls under ERISA or not. ERISA applies in almost every case involving benefits provided by an employer. ERISA preemption means that almost all employee benefit plans that provide such benefits as health insurance, life insurance or disability insurance are preempted by federal ERISA law however, plans sponsored by governmental employers and churches are not usually preempted by ERISA. ERISA § 4, 29 U.S.C. § 1003 provides that ERISA

shall apply to any employee benefit plan if it is established or maintained

by any employer engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce or

by any employee organization or organizations representing employees engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce or

by both.

However, ERISA does not apply to all employee benefit plans. ERISA § 4, 29 U.S.C. § 1003 provides:

The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to any employee benefit plan if

such plan is a governmental plan [29 U.S.C. § 1002 of this title)

such plan is a church plan

such plan is maintained solely for the purpose of complying with applicable workmens compensation laws or unemployment compensation or disability insurance laws

such plan is maintained outside of the United States primarily for the benefit of persons substantially all of whom are nonresident aliens or

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How Insurance Companies Handle Overpayments

Insurance companies typically deal with an overpayment in one of three ways. Most companies require immediate reimbursement of the full overpayment amount as soon as you receive your backpay. Others will agree to reduce your monthly LTD payment until the debt is satisfied. Finally, if you don’t pay the overpayment out of your Social Security backpay, insurers occasionally stop paying LTD payments entirely until the overpayment has been repaid, but this option is usually a last resort.

Expect your LTD insurance company to require you to sign a Social Security Reimbursement Agreement, stating that you’ll repay any retroactive Social Security benefits to the company. You may also be sent a Payment Option Form offering you the choice to receive a reduced amount of LTD benefits while your Social Security case is pending, so that you don’t have an overpayment to pay back with your Social Security backpay. Predictably, almost no one accepts this rather unappealing offer.

Are There Consequences For Not Repaying A Social Security Overpayment

Social Security Disability Overpayments

If you don’t repay the overpayment that you owe to the SSA, the agency can take several steps to get the money that is owed. Some of the actions the SSA can take include:

  • taking your federal tax refund check
  • taking a percentage from your work paycheck before you get it
  • taking future SSI or SSDI benefits, or
  • reporting your nonpayment to a credit bureau.

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Can A Disability Company Sue Me To Recover An Ssdi Overpayment

This case shows how a long-term disability insurance company can claim an overpayment once a claimant is approved for social security disability income benefits.

The following is a real life example of a claimant with a Unum disability policy who decided he did not want to pay back his SSDI overpayment.

Daniel N., while employed by ICI Americas Inc., participated in his companys long-term disability plan governed by ERISA. Unum Life insurance Company of America is the claims administrator and named fiduciary of this plan.

Like most group long-term disability policies, Daniels policy with Unum contained a provision allowing Unum to recover any overpayments due to receipt of deductible sourcesof income. The policy further defines deductible sources of income to include any Social Security disability income benefits and provides that Unum will subtract any SSDI benefits from the gross disability payment.

The Standard Of Review Is Abuse Of Discretion

As a threshold matter, the applicable standard of review must be determined. A district court review of denial of benefits under ERISA is de novo unless the plan gives the administrator discretionary authority to determine eligibility for benefits. If the plan grants discretionary authority, the administrator’s decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Glenn, 128 S. Ct. 2343, 2348 .

Here, the plan was originally administered by CIGNA. At that time, the plan documents vested discretionary authority in the Nortel’s Employee Benefits Committee , granting the EBC final discretionary authority to construe and interpret the plan, to decide all questions of eligibility for benefits and to determine the amount of such benefits .

When Prudential was appointed as claims administrator of the plan in 2000, it entered an administrative services agreement with Nortel that designated Prudential as the “appropriate named fiduciary” and conferred upon Prudential “discretionary authority to determine eligibility for benefits to determine the amount of benefits for each claim received and to construe the terms of the Plan” .

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Promptly Report Changes In Income To Ssa :

When beneficiaries begin working, they should let SSA know right away and continue to report their wages to SSA during the first six days of each month to decrease the chance of incurring an overpayment.

SSI beneficiaries can report earnings using any of the following methods:

  • Using an automated wage reporting tool
  • SSI Telephone Wage Reporting System, which is a quick and easy way to report monthly earnings by phone
  • SSI Mobile Wage Reporting application, which allows reporting of the total gross monthly wages for the prior month using an Apple or Android mobile device
  • myWageReport, which allows beneficiaries to report their monthly earnings online via their mySocial Security account
  • SSI beneficiaries can also mail or bring copies of their pay stubs to their local SSA field office during the first six days of the month.
  • SSDI beneficiaries

    A Civil Lawsuit In Federal Court

    Unum Disability Claim and Benefit Denial Help

    If you disagree with the Appeals Councils decision, or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you can file a civil suit in a federal district court. You must file a civil action in your area U.S. District Court within 60 days after you receive notice of the Councils action in the case.

    If you want assistance from a Board Certified Social Security Disability Attorney in your appeal, call Mr. Ortiz at 850-898-9904 for a Free Case Evaluation.

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    What If I Lose My Request For Waiver Or Reconsideration

    If you disagree with the waiver decision, the next step of appealing is to file a Request for Reconsideration either online or by telephone as described above.

    If the request for reconsideration of the waiver decision is denied, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge . You must do this within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. You can do this online or by telephone at 1 800- 772-1213.

    Unum Sues To Recover Overpayment

    When Daniel reached the maximum benefits period under the policy, Unum could no longer deduct monthly benefits to recover the overpayment, the balance of which was then $65, 848.40, and Unum sued Daniel in the Georgia Federal Court to recover the amount in addition to attorney fees and the costs of litigation. The court entered a judgment in favor of Unum requiring Daniel to pay the nearly $66,000 plus the costs of the litigation.

    Is There A Time Limit For Filing These Requests

    Follow the time limits given in your Notice of Overpayment. Generally, you have only 60 days from the date of the Notice of Overpayment to file a Request for Reconsideration. If your request is late, tell them what good cause reason you have. However, you may file a Request for a Waiver at any time.

    Whose Fault Are Overpayments

    What is workers’ compensation offset on Social Security Disability?

    As a Social Security disability law office we get calls from prospective claimants who are asking for help with incidents where Social Security indicates the claimant was overpaid benefits and now the agency wants its money back. Unfortunately we have to turn many of these claimants away because we do not deal with overpayment issues, but this is a real problem for many Americans and many times it is through no fault of their own.

    Overpayment issues can occur for a variety of reasons. Maybe a claimant has earned too much money to receive Social Security payments, or they shouldve been reduced for other circumstances, but the claimant has no idea. Typically overpayment issues come up within a few years of the payments actually being made, but sometimes overpayment issues go back 10 years or more.

    Anyone with knowledge about the Social Security disability process understands that those who receive benefits receive modest compensation, which sometimes is barely enough to live off of. These are no wealthy individuals who can easily give up $2,100 for a mistake made 20 years ago because Social Security failed to do its job properly.

    No one is suggesting that people should receive and spend money they are not entitled to, but for individuals who never received any indication that they were overpaid until decades later should not be made to pay the government money they dont have.

    How Do I Have To Repay An Ssdi Overpayment

    If the SSA overpaid you Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and you’re currently receiving SSDI benefits, the SSA will withhold the full amount of your benefit check each month until the overpayment is paid off. The withholding will start 30 days after you receive the notice of overpayment. You can contact the SSA to request that less than the full amount be withheld such requests have to be approved by the SSA.

    Brown V Bowen 660 F Supp 582

    US District Court for the Northern District of California- 660 F. Supp. 582

    660 F. Supp. 582 Ardean BROWN, Plaintiff,Otis R. BOWEN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant.

    United States District Court, N.D. California.

    *583 Susan J. Balliet, East Palo Alto Community Law Project, East Palo Alto, Cal., for plaintiff.

    Stephen L. Schirle, Asst. U.S. Atty., San Francisco, Cal., for defendant.


    Plaintiff Ardean Brown is the widow of Joseph L. Brown. In 1971 plaintiff, as the *584 mother of the deceased’s son, became entitled to and applied for Retirement Survivor’s Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. section 402. In the application, plaintiff agreed to comply with Social Security Administration regulations requiring annual income earnings reports which could affect the amount of her benefits. Plaintiff received benefits until 1981, when her son turned 18. Plaintiff has a 6th grade education and is a full-time school bus driver.

    During the years at issue, defendant allegedly overpaid plaintiff a total of $4,691.20 because plaintiff repeatedly failed to comply with the Social Security Administration’s annual report of earnings requirement. A review of plaintiff’s tax returns for the years at issue alerted the SSA to discrepencies between plaintiff’s reported estimated earnings and her actual earnings. The SSA then instituted proceedings to recover the excess benefits paid.


    Court Transcript, 15-16.

    Defendants Were Entitled To Offset Overpayments To Plaintiff

    Defendants here seek summary judgment with respect to plaintiff’s claims. Here, the terms of the plan clearly and unambiguously provide that plaintiff’s LTD benefits shall be reduced by SSD benefits. Furthermore, even though plaintiff’s LTD benefits would not be reduced while she pursued SSD benefits by the amount of SSD benefits she was expected to receive, plaintiff explicitly agreed that if she later received SSD benefits, she would reimburse defendants for the full amount of any overpayment of her LTD benefits that resulted from obtaining SSD benefits. The plan further provided that Nortel could opt to unilaterally recover such an overpayment by reducing future monthly benefits. Defendants were therefore entitled to recover the LTD benefits that should have been offset by her SSD benefits.

    Plaintiff argues that the plan’s overpayment provision should not apply to her. As noted above, a section of the plan entitled “Reduction of Benefits Due to Other Income” provided that plaintiff’s LTD benefits would not be reduced by any increase in her social security benefits “after STD benefit payments have started under this plan” . Plaintiff argues that her social security benefits were increased in this case from $38.00 to over $1300 per month after her STD benefit payments started in 1996.

    Your Appeal And Waiver Rights

    Unum Disability Claim and Benefit Denial Help

    If you receive a notice that you’ve been overpaid and you don’t believe you have been, or you disagree with the amount of overpayment that was stated in the notice, you can file an appeal. In your appeal, you must explain why you believe you haven’t been overpaid or why the amount of overpayment is wrong.

    If you receive an overpayment notice and believe that, although the overpayment notice was accurate, you should not have to pay the money back to the SSA, you can file a waiver. The waiver must prove that the overpayment was not your fault and that paying back the overpayment would cause financial hardship or be unfair to you.

    If you file an appeal or waiver, the SSA will delay taking money out of your monthly Social Security benefits or trying to collect the money for repayment until the SSA decides whether the appeal or waiver will be granted. For more information, including the appeal and waiver forms, see our article on how to respond to an overpayment notice.

    If your waiver request or appeal is denied, contact a Social Security attorney.

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