Today we will be answering a question that was recently asked anonymously through our interactive disability forum. If you have a question regarding this topic or any other Social Security Disability topic, be sure to leave it in the comment section below or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.
Today’s question is:
Who is responsible for paying back a Social Security Disability overpayment if the original recipient dies?
A Social Security Disability overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration (SSA) pays a recipient more than the amount that he or she is entitled to. An overpayment can occur for a variety of reasons. However, overpayments most often occur when the recipient fails to report medical, income, or work-related changes. When the SSA becomes aware of an overpayment, they will send a notice to the responsible party.
The party responsible for repaying an overpayment depends on the circumstances in which the overpayment occurred. This can become complicated when the responsible person passes away.
If you serve as a representative payee for a deceased benefit recipient and are at fault for the overpayment, then you will likely be held responsible for paying back those funds.
In many instances, the estate of the deceased beneficiary will be responsible for paying back any overpayments. In some cases the SSA may ask the legal representative of the deceased party’s estate to issue payment for the overage. However, any benefits that are due to the estate may also be reduced to cover an overpayment.
Survivors or dependents of a deceased SSDI recipient are often entitled to receive benefits under the eligible worker’s record. If this is the case the SSA will attempt to recover payment from
- the representative payee
- the estate of the deceased beneficiary.
If the SSA does not or cannot receive payment from either of these sources, they may attempt to recover payment by deducting funds from any available auxiliary benefits. This means that the benefit overpayment may be subtracted from the monthly payments of any eligible dependents. This may cause any available survivor benefits to be reduced or even stopped.
Joint SSI Benefits
For couples receiving joint SSI payments, both partners are responsible for any overpayment that may occur. If one spouse dies, the other person will be responsible for repaying any overages and his or her monthly benefit may be reduced accordingly until repayment is complete.
If both spouses pass away or if the SSA cannot recover payment from the remaining spouse, they may attempt to get the money paid back through the estate of one or both of the deceased beneficiaries.
As always, please let us know if you have additional questions in the comment section below and we may answer them in a future blog post!