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Payback Demanded After Social Security Disability Overpayment

Posted on Nov 22, 2013

For those who rely on Social Security disability in Massachusetts, overpayment from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may sound like a welcome mistake. However, many of these people who received higher payments for Social Security disability are now being asked to repay the large sum of overpayments back to the government.

The notifications are coming without warning. Many Americans with injuries, mental illness, and other disabilities are being told that they were overpaid by the SSA and now must repay what they owe back to the government. The totals, accumulated over time, add up to thousands of dollars.

A recent audit done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that approximately $1.3 billion may have been made in overpayments. Only a portion of that is attributed to fraudulent claims in the system. Many innocent people receive overpayments, and then are asked to pay the agency back again. Some also report continual payments, even after notifying the agency that they are no longer eligible for benefits. Many have no idea they are overpaid until it is too late.

In spite of the reports of overpayments, the SSA states that it has an accuracy rate of over 99 percent for disability payments. The agency plans to conduct its own audit, with a spokesman saying that the GAO audit may have been flawed.

As Social Security disability attorneys in Boston, we understand that when people receive a check from the government, they believe they are entitled to it. When someone erroneously receives more than she is owed—and then is suddenly forced to pay back thousands of dollars in overpayments—the result can be a costly blow for a long period of time for someone already living on a limited budget.


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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law