Urgent Call for Social Security Fix as Seniors Face Shocking Bills

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Lawmakers, including Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, are increasing pressure on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to rectify a pervasive overpayment problem affecting millions of seniors.

The issue has left many seniors burdened with unexpectedly high bills due to mistakes made by the SSA. In a joint letter, Senators Peters and Stabenow highlighted the significant hardships faced by seniors, particularly those unsure of how to manage the bills incurred.

The overpayment problem, extending from April 2022 through December 2022, has prompted urgent calls for the SSA to implement effective solutions and prevent such errors from occurring in the future.

Seniors, along with those with disabilities and individuals on fixed incomes, have reported overpayments ranging from $37,000 to $100,000 or more. Once the SSA acknowledges the error, affected seniors are faced with the challenge of repaying the amounts or risking the suspension of their benefits until the overpaid amount is recovered.

Notably, the SSA disbursed over $11 billion in Social Security overpayments in 2022, with the frequency of overpayment mistakes on the rise. According to 13 On Your Side, over 2 million Americans experience overpayments each year.

Urgent Call for Social Security Fix as Seniors Face Shocking Bills

The overpayments typically accumulate over several years, making the total amount difficult for recipients to feasibly repay once the mistake is revealed.

Senators Peters and Stabenow have called for immediate action to address the overpayment issues, emphasizing the critical need for the SSA to enhance its processes and controls.

The letter underscores the devastating impact of overpayments on beneficiaries who have committed no wrongdoing and are now burdened with repaying improper payments.

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Michael Ryan, a finance expert, advises individuals facing overpayment debts not to panic, highlighting various options for resolving the debt and establishing affordable repayment plans.

While the SSA handles overpayments on a case-by-case basis, individuals can appeal if they disagree with the overpayment or believe the amount is incorrect. The agency also allows the request for a waiver of the collection of overpayments, with no time limit for filing a waiver.

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