How Do I Fight Overpayment of Social Security?

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Getting a bigger check than you should from the Social Security Administration might seem like a stroke of luck at first blush, but what it really means is that you’ll have to wade through the bureaucratic gears to deal with the overpayment.

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An overpayment occurs when Social Security pays you more than you should have been paid. If this happens, the Social Security Administration will notify you, according to its website. The notice will tell you why you’ve been overpaid and how you can pay the SSA back. The agency will also provide instructions on the following:

  • Whether the SSA should reconsider its decision if you believe you were not overpaid
  • How to waive the overpayment
  • How to repay the amount at a different rate

If you don’t agree that you have been overpaid, or if you believe the amount is incorrect, you can appeal by filing Form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration. Make sure you explain in detail why you think you have not been overpaid or why you think the amount is not correct.

If you agree that you have been overpaid but believe you shouldn’t have to repay it — either because you didn’t cause the overpayment or can’t afford to repay it — you should file Form SSA-632, Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery.

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If you agree that you have been overpaid and are willing to pay it back, but can’t afford to pay it back at the rate given in your notice, you should file Form SSA-634, Request for Change in Overpayment Recovery Rate.

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On the other hand, if you agree you’ve been overpaid and have no objection to paying the full amount, you can go to Pay.gov to make the payment. As GOBankingRates previously reported, the Treasury Department added the Pay.gov site earlier this year to help make the repayment process easier. For additional security, instead of using your Social Security number, you will be provided a new Remittance ID.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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