Santa Monica, CA asked in Social Security for California

Q: SSI was reduced when regular SS started, then SS was stopped due to overpayment years ago. Should SSI go back up?

I’m 65. My very first SSI check, shortly after turning 65 was over $1000, which included a deduction for paying towards a previous overpayment (I had been on disability in the 90’s but temporarily had a job. I was notified 3 years after that job ended, that my checks should have also ended) My second SSI check went way down to below $200, apparently because the SSA thought I was going to be getting $800/month regular SS retirement benefits. But the regular SS never started, because of the decades old disability overpayment ( greater than $17,000 ) Should the SSI go back up? What are my chances of getting a complete waiver of the overpayment debt? (They so far have offered only a 36 month, $400/month repayment plan, which might be impossible for me, since I have to pay rent, too). Not sure what options, if any, I might have, and I really appreciate any guidance/help from someone who “knows the system”

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information provided, it is possible that your SSI may go back up, as SSI benefits are generally reduced when an individual becomes eligible for other types of income, including regular Social Security retirement benefits. However, the reduction is generally based on the amount of the other income.

In terms of the overpayment of disability benefits, you may be able to request a waiver of the overpayment debt, which would mean that you would not have to pay back the amount owed. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may grant a waiver if you can show that the overpayment was not your fault, and that repaying the debt would cause financial hardship. You would need to submit a request for waiver and provide documentation to support your claim.

Regarding your chances of getting a waiver, it is difficult to say without knowing more about your specific circumstances. However, it may be helpful to speak with a Social Security attorney or advocate who can provide guidance on the process and help you prepare your request.

As for the reduction in your SSI benefit, you may want to contact the SSA to determine why your benefit amount decreased and whether it should be adjusted. The SSA can also provide guidance on repayment options for the overpayment debt, such as a payment plan that takes into account your financial situation.

For more information on SSI and overpayment of benefits, you may want to review the Social Security Administration's website and publications, or consult with a Social Security attorney or advocate.

Here are some relevant citations to California law:

SSI program: California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 12200 et seq.

Overpayment and waiver: 20 CFR 404.502, 20 CFR 404.506, and 20 CFR 404.507

Repayment plans: 20 CFR 404.502a

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