When the Government stops your Social Security Disability Benefits
I came across a post on the net just a few minutes ago, written by an individual who was receiving social security disability benefits. Unfortunately, this person is experiencing a situation I've come across many times. They've had their disability benefits stopped and they've been assessed an overpayment. Not surprisingly, they'd like to sue the federal government for putting them in the awful situation of being unable to handle their living expenses.
Well, you can't sue the social security administration over something like this, but you should do what the poster indicated he was doing (on his blog). You should complete form SSA-632, the Request For Waiver Of Overpayment and you should do it as soon as possible.
However, here are some other things that many people don't think to do.
If you have been assessed a social security disability or SSI overpayment, that's definitely one situation. However, if you have been assessed an overpayment AND your benefits have been stopped, you may wish to appeal the decision and request that your benefits be continued while you appeal. Keep in mind, though, that if you lose your appeal you will have to repay the benefits you received while you appealed.
Something else to consider is this. If you are assessed an overpayment you have the option of working out a payment arrangement with the social security administration. Repayment amounts in many cases can be fairly small and not overly burdensome.
The worst thing you can do, however, is nothing. What do I mean by that?
Simply this: if you A.do not appeal the decision to stop your benefits, B.do not ask for a continuation of benefits while you appeal, C.do not complete a waiver request form, or D.do not work out an arrangement for repayment---you are leaving yourself to the mercy of the social security administration.
Do you need an attorney for a situation like this? As with all cases, you can elect to seek representation or not. Some individuals seek out the assistance of a disability lawyer when their benefits are stopped. And some individuals look for a lawyer when an overpayment has been assessed.
Many disability lawyers, however, even if they will assist with an overpayment situation, would prefer that the individual file the waiver request before seeking legal assistance (usually to avoid having to complete the waiver form themselves).
If the request to waive the overpayment is denied, the benefit recipient can request a personal conference to appeal the decision. And if this is denied, a disability attorney can request a hearing before an administrative law judge---if the waiver request is turned down, this is the next step in fighting an overpayment: a hearing before an administrative law judge.
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