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You might have heard stories of senior citizens going through overpayment issues with their social security. For example, a disabled American is able to go back to work, but continues receiving Social Security benefits despite their rising income. Then, several months and thousands of dollars later, the individual receives a letter from Social Security asking for the ?overpayment? money back. For just about anyone, receiving a government letter requesting a check for tens of thousands of dollars is a scary scenario. As Social Security grapples with ballooning enrollment and costs, more and more of these overpayments are slipping through the cracks. Before the agency is able to catch the error, many regular, hardworking Americans are finding themselves in way over their heads. The question that many senior citizens need the answer to is how you can protect yourself from a situation such as this.

If you or a loved one is receiving payments from Social Security and either your income increases or your cost-of-living goes down suddenly, get in touch with your local Social Security agency immediately. That?s often the fastest and more legitimate way to solve an overpayment problem, but be aware that sometimes local agencies don?t catch these overpayment errors. It may be up to you or your loved one to police the spending and prepare for the possibility of receiving an overpayment letter.


Protect yourself from overpayment.

  • Take notes. Write down the dates when you went back to work and when you continued to receive checks. Save pay stubs and any big household bills (like a mortgage) for your records.
  • Start saving. Begin putting away whatever you can manage from your Social Security checks. If you?ve started working again, try living off your employment income you?re bringing in and set aside the government checks in case an overpayment letter comes in the mail.
  • Keep calling your local Social Security agency. If they didn?t catch an error the first time, they might catch it next month. Appear in person with the help of your caregiver, if necessary, bringing a recent check with you and speak to someone directly. If you?re the caretaker for someone who?s receiving these checks, bring all their relevant documents with you to the office, to appeal on their behalf.

Bear in mind that though you may not be able to prevent yourself or your loved one from receiving erroneous overpayments, knowing is half the battle. Just being aware that this sort of situation is a possibility will help protect you from the fallout.

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