Each every so often, I get an electronic mail from a reader with a horror story of types involving sending unsolicited cash to the Social Safety Administration to pay again advantages that had been acquired however weren’t due.
Right here is my recommendation: By no means ship cash to the SSA till you might be requested to take action. To elucidate this additional, let’s take a look at some emails I just lately acquired.
Q: I wasn’t working, so I utilized for my Social Safety advantages at age 62. However a few months later, I obtained a high-paying full-time job. So, I put within the paperwork to withdraw my Social Safety declare. My checks ultimately stopped. However not till I had acquired roughly $5,000 in profit funds. So, I wrote out a verify for that quantity and despatched it to the SSA. Months glided by. The verify was by no means cashed. I known as the SSA’s toll-free quantity. They might discover no file of the verify. So, I canceled that verify. Now what can I do?
A: As I stated above, I might by no means ship an unsolicited verify to the SSA to pay again funds till you might be requested to take action. As you realized, these checks simply fall right into a bureaucratic black gap. I’m positive your verify ended up on somebody’s desk someplace throughout the company and she or he was questioning: “What’s this all about? Why is that this man sending us all this cash?” Any individual else some other place within the SSA was most likely nonetheless processing your withdrawal software. So, it wasn’t within the laptop system but. The man with the verify had no thought what to do with the cash. That’s my guess.
I counsel you simply sit round and look ahead to the SSA to ship you a letter asking for the funds to be repaid. As soon as they course of your withdrawal request, that may begin a sequence of occasions that may result in them sending you an overpayment letter informing you that you simply owe them the $5,000 or so in advantages they despatched you earlier than stopping your checks.
And as soon as that overpayment paperwork is within the system, they are going to then be sitting there and ready so that you can ship them a verify. In different phrases, they are going to be anticipating the verify, and they’re going to know what to do with it when you ship it to them.
Q: I’m 63 years previous and have been getting Social Safety advantages for a couple of yr. I’m taking a job that may pay me about $30,000 this yr, and I do know that I cannot be due all of my Social Safety advantages for 2021. Ought to I simply begin returning the cash to them? How do I deal with this?
A: Identical recommendation. Do NOT “simply begin returning the cash to them.” What it’s best to do is name the SSA at 800-772-1213 and report the truth that you might have returned to work and the way a lot you suppose you’ll make this yr.
As soon as somebody processes that data, that may generate an overpayment letter that shall be mailed to you. If you get the letter, comply with the directions. They may let you know how a lot cash you owe again and the place to ship that cash.
Now I’m going to show the tables a bit. To this point, I’ve been speaking about conditions the place individuals know that they’ve acquired Social Safety advantages they don’t seem to be due, and I instructed them to attend for that overpayment letter earlier than sending any funds to the SSA.
However quite a lot of of you’ll get an overpayment letter you weren’t anticipating. In different phrases, for some cause, you bought some Social Safety advantages that the SSA alleges you weren’t due. How do you deal with that state of affairs?
Truly, the overpayment letter contains directions for coping with the state of affairs. And my e-book, Social Safety: Easy and Good, has a complete part dedicated to dealing with alleged overpayments. (Ordering directions for the e-book are on the finish of the column.) However here’s a very transient overview.
In the event you acknowledge the truth that you acquired advantages you aren’t due, and if you’re nonetheless getting month-to-month Social Safety advantages, the overpayment letter often says that the SSA will withhold your full month-to-month checks till the overpaid quantity has been recovered. If you’re OK with that, there’s nothing that you must do.
If you don’t want to or can not afford to have your full month-to-month advantages withheld, you may ask that the overpayment be held again in month-to-month installments.
If you’re not getting Social Safety advantages once you obtain an overpayment letter, you write a verify for the quantity of the overpayment payable to the Social Safety Administration and ship it to the tackle they provide you. Or you may work with the SSA to repay the quantity in month-to-month installments.
If you don’t agree that you’re overpaid, otherwise you merely are confused in regards to the alleged overpayment, then it’s best to begin out by calling the SSA and asking for a proof.
If you’re not happy with the reason given, or should you merely nonetheless don’t perceive the explanation for the overpayment, it’s best to file a proper attraction of the overpayment. You’ll most likely be requested to fill out a “Request for Reconsideration” type. On that type, you’ll point out why you disagree with the overpayment choice.
Your declare shall be reviewed by somebody throughout the SSA who was not concerned within the first choice that you simply had been overpaid. This can ultimately end in a second letter to you containing one other choice about your overpayment. If it’s a favorable choice, (which means you aren’t overpaid), then your case is actually closed.
But when the reconsidered opinion upholds their preliminary allegation that you’re overpaid, you could both settle for their choice and make preparations to repay the overpayment or contemplate an overpayment waiver request.
In the event you settle for the truth that you might have been overpaid, both earlier than or after asking for a reconsideration, you may ask the SSA to waive (write off) the overpayment if BOTH of the next circumstances are met: 1) you may show (by filling out monetary statements) that you simply can not afford to repay the cash; and a pair of) you may show that the overpayment was not your fault.
If in case you have a Social Safety query, Tom Margenau has a e-book with all of the solutions. It’s known as Social Safety: Easy and Good. Yow will discover the e-book at creators.com/books. Or search for it on Amazon or different e-book retailers. To seek out out extra about Tom Margenau and to learn previous columns and see options from different Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, go to the Creators Syndicate web site at www.creators.com.