The Social Security Administration (SSA) has uncovered that it overpaid recipients by a staggering $26.3 billion during the 2022 fiscal year, according to a recent report by the agency’s inspector general. Of this total, only $4.7 billion has been successfully recovered by the agency.
Many beneficiaries, who depend on their Social Security checks, have been taken aback when notified of their obligation to return the excess amounts. In a particularly striking instance highlighted by Kaiser Health News, a woman receiving $1,065 monthly from Social Security disability found herself facing a $60,000 bill, with just a 30-day window for repayment. Rebecca Vallas, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, described the situation as an “overpayment crisis,” emphasizing the severe hardships it imposes on already financially strained beneficiaries.
The overpayments have been attributed to factors like complex rules and an understaffed SSA relying on manual processes. Should recipients fail to refund the overpayments, they risk reductions in or cessation of their monthly benefits, in addition to possible wage garnishing or federal tax refund seizures.
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