For most individuals who are disabled and who cannot work, their primary worry is whether they will be approved for Social Security disability benefits through either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSD lawyers in Oklahoma know that well over half of all applicants who apply for disability benefits have their applications denied and are thus not able to receive the money they need from the Social Security Administration.
Once you are approved for benefits, however, your problems with the SSA aren’t necessarily at an end. Some individuals are finding out that they have received overpayments or more benefits than they are entitled to receive. If this happens to you, it isn’t just free money that you can take advantage of to pay your bills or save a little cash. When the SSA overpays you, the system may come back and try to recollect the money, which means you can get hit with a big bill. Unfortunately, many people who receive this extra cash from the SSD system aren’t even aware they are receiving overpayments and thus may have spent the money and may face great difficulties when the SSA comes to try to take it back.
Social Security Overpayments are a Major Problem
According to CNN, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has estimated that overpayments made to disabled individuals by the SSA total more than $1.3 billion in just the past two years alone. There are myriad reasons for these extra payments, including critical failures within the administration process of the disability benefits programs.
In some cases, for example, the SSA will continue sending out payments to people who have already returned to work and are no longer eligible for benefits because the system doesn’t realize the benefits should have ended. In other situations, a disabled person will begin to earn too much income and should have benefits cut or stopped but doesn’t.
If this happens to you and you realize there is a problem, calling the SSA and letting them know of this issue may not be enough to protect yourself and solve your problem. In at least one case reported by CNN, the recipient of SSD benefits contacted the Social Security Administration to let them know that the benefits should no longer be coming. The SSA gave this individual incorrect information, saying that the payments that were being sent out were intended to make up for underpayments over the course of the past year. The SSA insisted it wasn’t a mistake, but then later tried to recover thousands in back pay that had been sent out and that the recipient no longer had.
The sums of money that are involved are not small either, as one disability rights advocate said that some recipients of overpayments were getting notices indicating they owed as much as $40,000 or more to the SSA. This can be a huge amount of money to come up with, especially if you aren’t working and if the money is spent because you didn’t realize it was the result of an error.
Because of the serious problems caused by overpayment, it is important to know what benefits you are entitled to and make sure you receive the appropriate amount of disability income. Your attorney can help you to determine what your benefits check should be.
If you are disabled and need help getting benefits, a Social Security Disability lawyer in Oklahoma can help. Contact Hansen Dirani & Associates Law Offices at 877-583-0700 for a free case evaluation.