Do we have to repay Social Security if they've made a mistake?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 21, 2016
Mary e asked...

My mother recently received a letter from Social Security stating that they have overpaid her for the last 2 years since my father died. How can we find someone who can help us figure out: 1) If this is even accurate (after all, SSA made the calculations after my dad's death- so THEY made a mistake- either then or now or both times), and 2) How to appeal this for a reconsideration. SSA puts the burden of proof 100% on the citizen, expecting them to understand Social Security better than the SSA technician!

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

An elder law lawyer can assist you in determining whether or not your mother has been overpaid. You can go to the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys to find an experienced elder law lawyer in your area. Your lawyer will explain to you the procedure for appealing the determination of the Social Security Administration. It is important to know, however, that if you can show than an overpayment was not caused bgy you and that having to repay the money would pose a hardship, the law permits the Social Security administraiton to waive the repayment.