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What to Know About Overpayments

September 30, 2021 Disability

Receiving letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can cause a pit in the stomach of many Social Security disability benefits recipients. While some letters from the SSA are benign, others can bring bad news, such as a denial of benefits, a notification of a continuing disability review, or a notice of overpayment. Receiving a notice of overpayment can cause significant anxiety for Social Security disability benefits recipients because they mean that the recipient owes money to the SSA. However, the can be fought in some circumstances, according to our Baltimore disability lawyer.

Why You Might Receive a Notice of Overpayment

A notice of overpayment is a letter from the SSA alleging that it paid you more money in benefits than you were entitled to and that you must pay back that amount. Overpayments often occur when the SSA has the wrong information or does not know enough about your case. There are many reasons why you might receive a notice of overpayment, such as: 

  • You were no longer disabled but continued receiving benefits
  • You did not report your income to the SSA
  • You did not tell the SSA about other benefits payments you were receiving 
  • You did not tell the SSA that you started working 
  • You alerted the SSA to changes to your income, but they did not make it into the system
  • You earn more money than the SSA allows while collecting benefits

If you fail to contest a notice of overpayment, you could end up owing significant amounts of money to the SSA, which the SSA may attempt to recoup by taking up to 100% of your benefits to repay the overpayment. 

Options for Fighting a Notice of Overpayment

There are two primary strategies for fighting a notice of overpayment: an appeal and a waiver. 


When you appeal a notice of overpayment, you tell the SSA that you do not agree that you were overpaid. Appealing a notice of overpayment is similar to appealing an eligibility denial — first, you request a reconsideration, and, if that is denied, you request a hearing before a judge. Your request for reconsideration or appeal should explain why you believe you have not been overpaid or why the amount of the overpayment is wrong. 


When you request a waiver, you tell the SSA that agree that you were overpaid, but that you should not be required to repay it because you were not at fault for it and requiring you to do so would be unfair or create an undue financial hardship. 

If you lose your appeal and/or your waiver request is denied, you may be able to enter into an installment agreement with the SSA to pay back your overpayment over time. 

Contact a Baltimore Disability Lawyer if You Have Received a Notice of Overpayment

Do not panic if you have received a notice of overpayment. There are options available to you that can help you avoid a loss of benefits. For more information, please contact Baltimore disability lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.