Social Security overpayments: what you need to prove to win!

Overpayment cases are very tough to win.  If you decide to fight an overpayment, you need to know what you are up against.

Here is what the law says about how Social Security evaluates whether you have to pay back an overpayment or not.  This is taken from Social Security Ruling 88-6c.

42 U.S.C. § 404(b)

The regulations state in part:

Sections 204(b) and 1870(c) of the Act provide that there shall be no adjustment or recovery in any case where an incorrect payment . . . has been made . . . with respect to an individual:

(a) Who is without fault, and
(b) Adjustment or recovery would either:

(1) Defeat the purpose of title II of the Act, or
(2) Be against equity and good conscience. 20 C.F.R. § 404.506.

So, in order to have Social Security not collect an overpayment you have to be withouth “fault” for the overpayment AND the recovery would either defeat the purpose of the Social Security Act or be against equit and good conscience.

Lets take these one at a time:

You have to be without fault.

Under 20 C.F.R. § 404.507, “fault” is defined, in part, as:

“Fault” as used in “without fault” (see § 404.506 and 42 CFR 405.355) applies only to the individual. Although the Administration may have been at fault in making the overpayment, that fact does not relieve the overpaid individual or any other individual from whom the Administration seeks to recover the overpayment from liability for repayment if such individual is not without fault.

This is critical!  It says that it does not matter that Social Security may have given you bad advice, that you met with them and showed them your paystubs and they still sent you a check.  If you are at fault, it may not matter if Social Security is also at fault.

The first hurdle is that you have to be without fault.  If you knew, or should have known that you were not entitled to receive Social Security benefits, you may have a hard time proving that you were not at fault.

Personally, I have a problem with this.  If you are meeting with Social Security and you honestly provide all necessary information and Social Security mistakenly sends you a check, unless you actually know you are not entitled to it, I believe you should be able to rely on a Social Security technician, whose job it is to know the regulations, telling you that your benefits will continue without you being “at fault” for accepting those the benefits.  Alas, that is not the law.

How does Social Security determine if you are at fault?

In determining whether an individual is at fault, the Administration will consider all pertinent circumstances, including his age, intelligence, education, and physical and mental condition. What constitutes fault (except for “deduction overpayments” — see § 404.510) on the part of the overpaid individual or on the part of any other individual from whom the Administration seeks to recover the overpayment depends upon whether the fact show that the incorrect payment to the individual or to a provider of services or other person, or an incorrect payment made under section 1814(e) of the Act, resulted from:

(a) An incorrect statement made by the individual which he knew or should have known to be incorrect; or
(b) Failure to furnish information which he knew or should have known to be material; or
(c) With respect to the overpaid individual only, acceptance of a payment which he either knew or could have been expected to know was incorrect.

In a deduction-overpayment case such as this, the regulations provide an even higher degree of care for an individual to be “without fault.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.511 provides:

(a) Degree of care. An individual will not be “without fault” if the Administration has evidence in its possession which shows either a lack of good faith or failure to exercise a high degree of care in determining whether circumstances which may cause deductions from his benefits should be brought to the attention of the Administration by an immediate report or by return of a benefit check. The high degree of care expected of an individual may vary with the complexity of the circumstances giving rise to the overpayment and the capacity of the particular payee to realize that he is being overpaid. Accordingly, variances in the personal circumstances and situations of individual payees are to be considered in determining whether the necessary degree of care has been exercised by an individual to warrant a finding that he was without fault in accepting a “deduction overpayment.”

(b) Subsequent deduction-overpayments. An individual will not be without fault where, after having been exonerated for a “deduction overpayment” and after having been advised of the correct interpretation of the deduction provision, he incurs another “deduction overpayment” under the same circumstances as the first overpayment.

I can understand not being “without fault” if you fail to provide information or if you provide false or incorrect information, but the “knew or should have known” section in practice seems to expect people know the Social Security system better than the Social Security technicians themselves.

Lets say you are “without fault.”  then you still have to prove that the adjustment or recovery (repayment) would either 1) defeat the purpose of title II of the Act, or 2) Be against equity and good conscience. 20 C.F.R. § 404.506.

Social Security Ruling 87-16c deals with the “defeat the purpose” portion.

The Secretary has promulgated regulations which interpret the meaning of the statutory phrases: “defeat the purpose of” and “against equity and good conscience.” Defeating the purpose of Title II is defined at 20 C.F.R. § 404.508 (1985):

(a) General. “Defeat the purpose of title II,” for purposes of this subpart, means defeat the purpose of benefits under this title, i.e., to deprive a person of income required for ordinary and necessary living expenses. This depends upon whether the person has an income or financial resources sufficient for more than ordinary and necessary needs, or is dependent upon all of his current benefits for such needs. An individual’s ordinary and necessary expenses include:

(1) Fixed living expenses, such as food and clothing, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, insurance (e.g., life, accident, and health insurance including premiums for supplementary medical insurance benefits under the XVIII), taxes, installment payments, etc.;
(2) Medical, hospitalization, and other similar expenses;
(3) Expenses for the support of others for whom the individual is legally responsible; and
(4) Other miscellaneous expenses which may reasonably be considered as part of the individual’s standard of living.

(b) When adjustment or recovery will defeat the purpose of title II. Adjustment or recovery will defeat the purposes of title II in (but is not limited to) situations where the person from whom recovery is sought needs substantially all of his current income (including social security monthly benefits) to meet current ordinary and necessary living expenses.

I really cannot say it any better myself.  So to review, if you need all of your current income (including SSA benefits) for ordinary and necessary living expenses, the repayment may be “defeat the purpose of the act.”  Please note that Social Security does not list cell phone, cable, internet, eating out or going to movies as “ordinary and necessary living expenses.”  If you are spending money on any of these, you probably have income beyond just “ordindary and necessary living expense” and the repayment may not “defeat the purpsose of the act.”

But, if you meet this standard AND you are without fault for the overpayment, you may be able to win an overpayment case.

There is still the second prong, where repayment “would be against equity and good conscience.”  However, this requires a “reliance to one’s detriment.”  You may want to jump to examples which describe what this means in plain english.

Against equity and good conscience is defined at 20 C.F.R. § 404.509 (1985):

“Against equity and good conscience” means that adjustment or recovery of an incorrect payment (under title II of title XVIII) will be considered inequitable if an individual, because of a notice that such payment would be made or by reason of the incorrect payment, relinquished a valuable right (examples (1) and (4)) or changed his or her position for the worse (examples (2) and (3)). In reaching such a determination, the individual’s financial circumstances are irrelevant.

Example 1. A widow, having been awarded benefits for herself and daughter, entered her daughter in private school because the monthly benefits made this possible. After the widow and her daughter received payments for almost a year, the deceased worker was found to be not insured and all payments to the widow and child were incorrect. The widow has no other funds with which to pay the daughter’s private school expenses. Having entered the daughter in private school and thus incurred a financial obligation toward which the benefits had been applied, she was in a worse position financially than if she and her daughter had never been entitled to benefits. In this situation, the recovery of the payments would be against equity and good conscience.

Example 2. After being awarded old-age insurance benefits, an individual resigned from employment on the assumption he would receive regular monthly benefit payments. It was discovered 3 years later that (due to a Social Security Administration error) his award was erroneous because he did not have the required insured status. Due to his age, the individual was unable to get his job back and could not get any other employment. In this situation, recovery of the overpayments would be against equity and good conscience because the individual gave up a valuable right.

Example 3. M divorced K and married L. M died a few years later. When K files for benefits as a surviving divorced wife, she learns that L had been overpaid $3,200 on M’s earnings record. Because K and L are both entitled to benefits on M’s record of earnings and we could not recover the overpayment from L, we sought recovery from K. K was living in a separate household from L at the time of the overpayment and did not receive the overpayment. K requests waiver of recovery of the $3,200 overpayment from benefits due her as a surviving divorced wife of M. In this situation, it would be against equity and good conscience to recover the overpayment from K.

Example 4. G filed for and was awarded benefits. His daughter, T, also filed for student benefits on G’s earnings record. Since T was an independent, full-time student living in another State, she filed for benefits on her own behalf. Later, after T received 12 monthly benefits, the school reported that T had been a full-time student only 2 months and had withdrawn from school. Since T was overpaid 10 monthly benefits, she was requested to return the overpayment to SSA. T did not return the overpayment and further attempts to collect the overpayment were unsuccessful. G was asked to repay the overpayment because he was receiving benefits on the same earnings record. G requested waiver. To support his waiver request G established that he was not at fault in causing the overpayment because he did not know that T was receiving benefits. Since G is without fault and, in addition, meets the requirements of not living in the same household at the time of the overpayment and did not receive the overpayment, it would be against equity and good conscience to recover the overpayment from G.

There are few reported cases which discuss the recovery of overpayments under Title II of the Act. However, other federal programs have similar statutory and regulatory language governing the recovery of overpayments. For example, the recovery of overpaid Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits (Title XVI) is governed by 42 U.S.C. § 1383(b), which provides in part:

The Secretary (A) shall make such provision as he finds appropriate in the case of payment of more than the correct amount of benefits with respect to an individual with a view to avoiding penalizing such individual or his eligible spouse who was without fault in connection with the overpayment, if adjustment, or recovery on account of such overpayment in such case would defeat the purposes of this subchapter, or be against equity and good conscience. . . .

If you have read this far, first of all, thank you.  As you can see, the cards are pretty well stacked against anyone pursuing fighting to stop a repayment of a Social Security overpayment.   But it is not impossible.

To summarize, you have to be without fault for the overpayment and you either have to need all your income including Social Security benefit for the most basic of expenses or you relied to your detriment on the benefits continuing.

Good luck.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

  • http://google.com emerge credit

    Nice Site!
    http://google.com

  • http://www.ssdanswers.com Jonathan Ginsberg

    Tomasz:
    Your blog post and the next one about attorney’s fees in overpayment cases highlights the issues related to this difficult area. A have had a couple of overpayment cases over the years and here are a couple of points to add to your post:
    1. if the overpayment issue relates to monthly benefits and work, or perhaps the end of the trial work period or extended period of disability,you will need to go month by month to see if there really was an overpayment. I once had a case where the employer reported more than the employee received.

    2. if the case involves a large sum ($25,000 for example), it is helpful to know if the claimant contacted SSA and tried to report the overpayment. I had a case several years ago where my client kept reporting the overpayment and more than one SSA rep told him that there was no problem and to keep the money. These statements from SSA were not in writing, but he did keep a record of when the calls were made and his dates matched up with the contact dates in his file. The latest SSA rep told me that she would take the matter under consideration and that was five years ago.

    Jonathan Ginsberg
    Ginsberg Law Offices, P.C.
    Atlanta, GA

  • Pingback: Overpayments: Finding an Attorney | Colorado Social Security Disability Law

  • http://www.ssdanswers.com Jonathan Ginsberg

    Tomasz:
    Your blog post and the next one about attorney’s fees in overpayment cases highlights the issues related to this difficult area. A have had a couple of overpayment cases over the years and here are a couple of points to add to your post:
    1. if the overpayment issue relates to monthly benefits and work, or perhaps the end of the trial work period or extended period of disability,you will need to go month by month to see if there really was an overpayment. I once had a case where the employer reported more than the employee received.

    2. if the case involves a large sum ($25,000 for example), it is helpful to know if the claimant contacted SSA and tried to report the overpayment. I had a case several years ago where my client kept reporting the overpayment and more than one SSA rep told him that there was no problem and to keep the money. These statements from SSA were not in writing, but he did keep a record of when the calls were made and his dates matched up with the contact dates in his file. The latest SSA rep told me that she would take the matter under consideration and that was five years ago.

    Jonathan Ginsberg
    Ginsberg Law Offices, P.C.
    Atlanta, GA

  • Stan

    Great site!
    Never got a official overpayment letter.
    Never provided data on how an “alledged” overpayment ocured / or what it was in reference to…
    How far back can SSA go to recover?
    Anybody please help…
    Please advise.

  • Stan

    Great site!
    Never got a official overpayment letter.
    Never provided data on how an “alledged” overpayment ocured / or what it was in reference to…
    How far back can SSA go to recover?
    Anybody please help…
    Please advise.

  • http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com Tomasz Stasiuk

    Stan,

    I am not aware of any limits on how far back Social Security can go to recover a claimed overpayment.

    That is not to say there are no limits, but I am not aware of any.

    Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases where even Social Security cannot say what caused the overpayment or keeps changing the amount of the overpayment.

    In some of those case, there may be a legitimate overpayment, but I have to wonder.

    I sometimes take the approach that if the specific set of circumstances strikes me as patently unfair, the individual should get their members of Congress involved. Your Representatives and Senator will usually have local offices and have staff to help their constituents (YOU) solve problems with government agencies. They can cut through a lot of the red tape that even lawyers cannot budge.

    Of course, you still have to keep an eye on deadlines for any appeal rights you may have, or you may loose them.

    Best of luck!

    – Tomasz

    This response is not legal advice, nor does it form an attorney client relationship. For legal advice on you your question, contact an attorney for a consultation.

  • http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com Tomasz Stasiuk

    Stan,

    I am not aware of any limits on how far back Social Security can go to recover a claimed overpayment.

    That is not to say there are no limits, but I am not aware of any.

    Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases where even Social Security cannot say what caused the overpayment or keeps changing the amount of the overpayment.

    In some of those case, there may be a legitimate overpayment, but I have to wonder.

    I sometimes take the approach that if the specific set of circumstances strikes me as patently unfair, the individual should get their members of Congress involved. Your Representatives and Senator will usually have local offices and have staff to help their constituents (YOU) solve problems with government agencies. They can cut through a lot of the red tape that even lawyers cannot budge.

    Of course, you still have to keep an eye on deadlines for any appeal rights you may have, or you may loose them.

    Best of luck!

    — Tomasz

    This response is not legal advice, nor does it form an attorney client relationship. For legal advice on you your question, contact an attorney for a consultation.

  • steve cherkes

    dear sir,
    i appreciate your site on the matter.
    i was on disability during and after a very sad divorce involving two children. my depression was severe. after approx. four years,
    i attempted to go back to work, and was told that i would be put on a work program. i never was. i was told that i would have some one
    verify my first job was on the up and up. and i did not. and it was not. it was for sale.
    when i called soc. sec. they told me i was never put on the work program by a mrs. love. and so a mrs. sanchez supposedly did it for my second job telling me to ignore the first episode. which became the first overpayment. the first snowball if you will.
    because i was afraid that my second job would not work out i waited a while longer than i should have and finally went to the soc. sec.
    office and was told not to worry they would only make it up through taxes and never by way of garneshment. i was told to send back four checks by mail if received, and they would stop. i sent back three because of financial crisis and duress. any way the checks still came and now they claim i owe approximately 42 thousand dollars which is a blown up amount.
    they have been taking by garnishment fifteen percent of my income ever since. please tell me do i have a leg to stand on in any way.

    thank you, sincerely, steve

  • steve cherkes

    dear sir,
    i appreciate your site on the matter.
    i was on disability during and after a very sad divorce involving two children. my depression was severe. after approx. four years,
    i attempted to go back to work, and was told that i would be put on a work program. i never was. i was told that i would have some one
    verify my first job was on the up and up. and i did not. and it was not. it was for sale.
    when i called soc. sec. they told me i was never put on the work program by a mrs. love. and so a mrs. sanchez supposedly did it for my second job telling me to ignore the first episode. which became the first overpayment. the first snowball if you will.
    because i was afraid that my second job would not work out i waited a while longer than i should have and finally went to the soc. sec.
    office and was told not to worry they would only make it up through taxes and never by way of garneshment. i was told to send back four checks by mail if received, and they would stop. i sent back three because of financial crisis and duress. any way the checks still came and now they claim i owe approximately 42 thousand dollars which is a blown up amount.
    they have been taking by garnishment fifteen percent of my income ever since. please tell me do i have a leg to stand on in any way.

    thank you, sincerely, steve

  • http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com Tomasz Stasiuk

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for commenting! That is some overpayment Social Security is claiming!

    Unfortunately, my office cannot offer legal advice or perform case evaluations via comments.

    If you are in Colorado, feel free to call me at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-0166 and we can talk about your case. Don’t worry, we will not bill you for the telephone consultation. You are only on the hook for attorneys fees if you retain my office by signing a fee agreement.

    If you are outside of Colorado, I encourage you call an attorney in your area and discuss your case.

    I wish you the very best on getting this resolved.

    – Tomasz M. Stasiuk

    A Whole Mess of Legalese:
    Information contained on the website and responses to comments (including email) are general information about the Social Security system and are not legal advice. For a review of the specific circumstances of your case, contact an attorney for a consultation. The Stasiuk Firm is available for consultations by telephone at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-016. No attorney-client relationship is formed via unsolicited communications with the website or office. No representation is provided without a validly executed fee agreement signed by the Stasiuk Firm and the client (or their representative). Phew!

  • http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com Tomasz Stasiuk

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for commenting! That is some overpayment Social Security is claiming!

    Unfortunately, my office cannot offer legal advice or perform case evaluations via comments.

    If you are in Colorado, feel free to call me at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-0166 and we can talk about your case. Don’t worry, we will not bill you for the telephone consultation. You are only on the hook for attorneys fees if you retain my office by signing a fee agreement.

    If you are outside of Colorado, I encourage you call an attorney in your area and discuss your case.

    I wish you the very best on getting this resolved.

    — Tomasz M. Stasiuk

    A Whole Mess of Legalese:
    Information contained on the website and responses to comments (including email) are general information about the Social Security system and are not legal advice. For a review of the specific circumstances of your case, contact an attorney for a consultation. The Stasiuk Firm is available for consultations by telephone at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-016. No attorney-client relationship is formed via unsolicited communications with the website or office. No representation is provided without a validly executed fee agreement signed by the Stasiuk Firm and the client (or their representative). Phew!

  • brokenwing

    I received social security disability related to brain cancer in several years ago. I lived longer than social security expected me to and decided to try to work again. I received an overpayment notice from ssa recently and set up a conference with a representative from the ssa. Long story short I have written proof of errors that SSA made and written proof of my notifications to them. When I had a personal conference with the SSA I was told that my overpayment case would likely be waived because of the botched way that my case has been handled through the years. I actually have this statement in writing. However, there was some concern about the fact that I went back to work after filing for disability and before my 12 month waiting period. I have no memory from this time related to my brain surgery and tumor and cannot defend myself during this time. The only reason this is pertienent is that the SSA rep was concerned that I might be asked to pay back all of my SSDI benefits because of this period of work (Over $75,000.00). My question is this: I had private disability insurance which would have paid me the same amount as SSDI paid me but instead they claimed an offset under ERISA law. It seems unfair that SSDI can wait 6 years to determine that I was never entitled to benefits since my claim with the private disability insurer is time barred. It also seems unfair that I cannot defend myself related to having no memory of this time. If I was not forced to file for SSDI by my private disability insurance I would not have a problem now. I live in Colorado – Any advice?

  • http://www.SocialSecurityInsider.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Thanks for your comment!

    Unfortunately, I cannot evaluate cases or offer legal advice via comments or email (my malpractice carrier won't let me). But there are lots of opportunities to talk to an attorney.

    Since you are in Colorado, feel free to call me at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-0166 and we can talk about your case. Don't worry, I will not bill you for the telephone consultation. You are only on the hook for attorneys fees if you retain my office by signing a fee agreement.

    Good Luck!

    A Whole Mess of Legalese:
    Information contained on the website and responses to comments (including email) are general information about the Social Security system and are not legal advice. For a review of the specific circumstances of your case, contact an attorney for a consultation. The Stasiuk Firm is available for consultations by telephone at (719) 630-1225 or (800) 407-016. No attorney-client relationship is formed via unsolicited communications with the website or office. No representation is provided without a validly executed fee agreement signed by the Stasiuk Firm and the client (or their representative). Phew!

  • Barbie

    Thank you. You pointed out lots of useful information I needed to know.

  • Patrick97213

    Thank you for all you do. I suffer from an SSA overpayment. May I ask a question? Shouldn’t SSA require a monthly Work Activity Report?
    In my upcoming appeal, if an attorney wins my SSD case, there will not be any unpaid benefits left to pay his fee. My question is – can I stop looking for an attorney? Can I defend myself at the upcoming appeals hearing? And, if I do, who can help me prepare for the hearing?
    BACKROUND: My first SSD application was approved in 1995. Age 48. I began a return to work program through the Oregon Dept of Rehabilitation. I became a real estate agent. To pay licensing fees and continuing education, I took a temporary, part time job that I eventually lost. I lost money every year until the last day in 2002, Dec 31st. At which point SSA decided I was overpaid for the whole year. The total overpayment is now $23,455 because SSA continued to send disability checks in 2003, 2004 and 2005; even though they decided I was no longer entitled. My health took a turn for the worst in 2002. I filed another SSD application on Dec 31, 2005 which was denied because Oregon DDS saw that I had attempted to return to work. That was the object you know!
    Sincerely, Pat, Age 61 and no longer a licensed Realtor.
    PS. My last day worked is not exact. I tried to hold my return to work program together on several days in 2006 and 2007. Is that SGA?

  • Anonymous

    I have been billed an overpymt. of $48K. I was unaware due to many items mentioned in your article here. I recently reapplied for SSD and was approved. Although they changed the date of onset. So I was told I would recv. backpay of Sept and Oct. 2008. I already have a Repymt. Plan in place paying $10 monthly. Come Jan 2009 my case worker saud we would discuss $100 being deducted from my benefit. Well surprise, I get a letter telling me that they are NOT sending me the Sept and Oct. 2008 but applying it to me overpymt. issue. And “sorry for any inconvenience”. My own SS case worker is surprised as he said that since I had a Repymt. Plan in place and actived, that Ss could NOT do this. This gets even better……..he tells me that I will get some SSI interim. The SSI technician calls me and she tells me yes I will be recvg. SSI, a grand total of $1500.00 this Friday. This morning she calls me again, shocked herself, that someone locally has once again rerouted my SSI money to the overpymt. issue as well. This SSI case worker is also confused.

    If you have any suggestions, I would welcome them.

    Cheers-

    Lora N. Tell
    P.O. Box 2403
    Loveland, CO. 80539
    Tel: 970-310-6642

  • wanda

    I was recieving sociol security for my five year old and on dec they decieded that my unemployment check of 365 a week was to much. They told me that i was going to recieve a letter saying why they stop sending me checks. The only letter I recieved was a letter saying i owe them 10000 dollors. what can i do i alway show them prove of any income i had

  • Mark O

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for your help.

  • Nick

    I have not found one comment anywhere that says Social Security Overpayments are exempt from the Statute of Limitations. In my state, NH, the Statute of Limitations says something to the affect of “if there is no other statute then the Statute of Limitations applies. I have searched the SS Act and no where does it say SS is exempt.

    AND, there is nothing that says you can't request a Waiver every month.

    Fight to the end

  • http://www.softwareteacher.com/ David

    I once found a Supreme Court ruling that indicated an overpayment can not be collected beyond a “Resonable Time” period, but I can not find the ruling any longer.

  • http://www.SocialSecurityInsider.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I have never heard of that. I did a quick google search but I was not able to find any leads. Certainly, something like this would help a lot of people.

  • griego

    I am in a situation here. My father received payments from ssa and now they want to garnish my wages & send it to the irs & the credit bureaus. I didn't receive any payments of any kind. I was thrioown out at age 16 and didn't reconcile with my father til I was 23. I don't see how I can owe them money. In Colorado can anyone help please gg1085@hotmail.com

  • emaliebunger

    My sister is divorced. Her ex-husband has no hands or legs and so receives soc sec
    benefits for being disabled. My sister receives 2 checks for each of their children. The Soc Sec Admin is now trying to recover $25,260.00 from my sister for overpayment. My sister has no knowledge of her ex-husbands dealings with soc sec, since first of all its private, and even if she tried to get information it would be in violation of the Privacy Act, or whatever it's called. My sister never felt she needed to try to get information because its not her case, it's his. He applied for benefits and family benefits for both of his children. The letters my sister just received are very vague and say SHE is no longer disabled…by the way he hasnt grown hands or legs yet… and SHE is responsible for the over paymant to the children. Do we need a lawyer?? If anyone knows PLEASE HELP. Paying this back would devastate her family, her current husband has cancer and this judgement would make them homless, to say the least, there is no way she can pay them back.

  • Idaho_worker

    Almost $52,000 is what our overpayment is claimed to be. Situation is my husband received a decision of SS Disability and the settlement decision from WC a day apart. We told SS that we were getting an annuity from WC and they said they would take into advisement. Two years later, we told them that our reduced annuity payments (because of lawyers fees) were over and we were getting the full amount now. We were told the same thing. A year after that we said we hadn't seen any change in SS payments. We were told the same thing. Now we get this letter 6 years after this all began that we owe them this amount. We not only feel this is not our fault, but it is negligence on SS part. Of course, we don't have that amount lying around to pay them back and hearing they want it back within three years, that would definitely cause us to be in the poor house, so to speak. How can we fight this ?
    Idaho spinal fusionx2 work related.

  • Idaho_worker

    Almost $52,000 is what our overpayment is claimed to be. Situation is my husband received a decision of SS Disability and the settlement decision from WC a day apart. We told SS that we were getting an annuity from WC and they said they would take into advisement. Two years later, we told them that our reduced annuity payments (because of lawyers fees) were over and we were getting the full amount now. We were told the same thing. A year after that we said we hadn't seen any change in SS payments. We were told the same thing. Now we get this letter 6 years after this all began that we owe them this amount. We not only feel this is not our fault, but it is negligence on SS part. Of course, we don't have that amount lying around to pay them back and hearing they want it back within three years, that would definitely cause us to be in the poor house, so to speak. How can we fight this ?
    Idaho spinal fusionx2 work related.

  • Robin Jones

    I have been off of SS for 8 years now. I received a bill from SS telling me that they overpaid me $16,301.00 and it is due in 30 days. It states in the letter that they will tell me: How they paid me $16,301.00 too much in benefits; and What do do if I think they are wrong. Well all they put in the letter was “You were paid benefits for October 1994 thru December 1996 and January 2002 thru July 2002. It has been determined that you were not due these benefits bases on your work and earnings” Needless to say, I did NOT work during 1994 and 1996, that is when I first went on disability. I did however work in 2002 but was on the Trail Work Release program. How can they go after money after 16 years ( am trying to find all the paperwork but can't find it all) and shouldn't they have to explain better on how they came up with this figure?? I am at a total loss.

  • L360

    My grandmother is almost 90 years old and has collected social security for 20 + years- They just decided this year that she really wasn't married to her first husband long enough to collect from him and that she is no longer entitled to SSI benefits- and oh yeah, they want the $180,000 she received back!! The employees at the SS office keep acting like they're just trying to help- all the while they keep saying they can't do anything until they get the waiver form. They just want to go after every penny she's every saved!! They make me sick!

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    Without offering legal advice in this situation, consider:

    A waiver is not an appeal: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/11/ov

    and

    There is certainly a limited amount time to file any kind of appeal: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/02/wh

  • Ad Bentley

    My brother died an left 2 children behind. They received 2 checks for Soc. Sec. and then they get a letter saying that their dad was overpaid on Soc. Sec. and they will no longer receive any benefits.. Can they hold the kids liable for overpayment? They have no income!! What do I do?

  • http://www.StasiukFirm.com TomaszStasiuk

    My understanding is that Social Security can attempt to recover an overpayment from survivors’ benefits if the disabled individual is deceased. However I could be wrong.

  • Brendastanojevic

    My disability was approved in December 2009 and went back to 2007. My husband passed away and I turned 55 in 2008 so I was also eligible for widow’s benefit. I received 2 award letters in December. In March of 2010 I received a letter that they overpaid me $20,000.00 but did not say why. I went to the Social Security office to inquire. I was told that each claim was paid in a different state and they did not coordinate benefits and I was getting 100% widow’s benefit. My home was in foreclosure and I was working with Help for the Homeowners and they used my award letters and montly payments to determine my mortgate payments. I can barely afford that since my benefits were later cut in half. They say I have to make monthly payments so that means my house will end up in foreclosure again. How is that fair? I really some help . . . .

  • Bribarb1234

    I wanted to share with your readers that I just won my overpayment case. I was divorced from my ex-husband when he went on disability and I was the representative payee for our minor child. After many years of receiving payments for the auxilary child he was found to have substantial gainful activity and they wanted ME to payback $21565. I was remarried and had no knowledge of my ex-husbands activities and therefore was found to be without fault. I asked for a reconsideration first and shortly thereafter filed for a waiver. I did not include my new husband’s income on the waiver form because he had nothing to do with the situation. There was no way my new husband was going to pay for my ex-husband’s screw-up. Two days later I was granted a waiver. I did find a section in the POMS about joint liability of representative payees and minor children and if you are without fault and used the money for the child’s expenses you can be granted a waiver. Hope this is helpful. I am appalled at how often this situation happens and that there are few attorneys that practice this type of law(regarding overpayments). It literally takes days to search the SSA guidelines POMS for information. I did google Appellate decisions regarding SSA overpayments and learned alot.

  • Linabean

    I am having the exact same issue as you. I would love to talk more indepth about the issue if possible. Email me at carolina.walbrun@gmail.com

  • Linabean

    I am having the exact same issue as you. I would love to talk more indepth about the issue if possible. Email me at carolina.walbrun@gmail.com

  • Linabean

    I am in the exact situation as you. Can you point me to the POMS that you used. I am so confused by the forms. I don’t want to divulge any of my or my new husbands finances or income since I think it is irrelevant to this case. I can’t afford to may nearly $23, 000. Is there any way for my ex-husband to take on the liability of this overpayment?

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I can’t say if this would apply in your situation, however one one the POMS dealing with joint and several liability is http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202205007

  • Linabean

    can you remove my email address off my reply to Bribarb1234

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Done!

  • Petrangelo

    I have been fighting SS over overpayment money that was sent to me and was their fault. I just got a decision from the appeals council establishing that SS was clearly at fault. This reverses the Adm. Law Judges Decision and they gave me an option of going before another Adm. Law Judge or appearing before the appeals councel themselves. They upheld to overpayment however based on not defeating the purpose of the SS act. Also that recovery would be against equity and good conscience. In 21 years of recieving SS disability insurance they have been incorrect in the offset of my SS based on recieving Worker’s comp 16 years. Some of it was overpayment money and some was underpayment money. I have been fighing them for 5 years now. I would like to talk to you in more detail about my case because I have a few important questions before I make my next move. I have to leave my email address so please give me a response and I will contact you back.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    My office does not do case evaluation by email. However, feel free to contact me through my firm’s web intake page: http://www.stasiukfirm.com/contact/

  • Zoey

    I received notification from SSA that I was not entitled for the cost of living increase for 2007 and 2008. They claim that I have a overpayment. Has everyone experienced this? If so, how did you handle this situation?

  • Cbrn7601

    Glad to see there are others in the same boat as me. I just recieved my bill for $45,000. I collected disability while I was fighting for my life. Terminal colon and liver cancer beat the cancer for now but my oncologist says terminal is terminal and it will be back I have a 5 year prognosis. That is the average battle time with colon cancer. Yup I went back to work on my caseworkers advice on a Trial to Work program. According to her and there website you can make as much money as you can without it affecting your benefits. Big fat lie when you call to have it shut off they do a “pay review” to determine how much you made. Guess what I made to much money and they backtracked to when I was actually flat on my back with 72 staples in my stomach and said I wasnt eligible then either. Go figure, now I just have to live thru another fight this time with the federal government. I beat cancer when they told me I had 6 to 9 months and I will beat them!!!

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    That’s what gets me angry about Social Security. The 9 month Trial Work Period is designed to let individuals test their ability to work. It should not be a trigger to cause a re-evaluation of the entire period of disability.

  • Brian

    Tomasz – I recognize you from a Social Security group that I belong to on Linked In. Thank you for this article as I found it to be incredibly helpful. I am representing a claimant in an overpayment case and the ALJ requested a brief. This article made the research pretty easy (although I still have my doubts about actually wining this one.)
    Thanks for posting and keep up the good work!

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Brian. Thanks for commenting. Feel free to call me if you want to go over the claim.

  • Tim

    I am so sorry to see that so many people are going through this. I collected ssi under my dad since i was about 6 years old. I am now 22 when I turned 18 I got a letter from ssi saying I owe 47,000 for over payment. I would like to know how a child can ask for ssi receive a check and deposit the check, what did I ride my tricicle to the bank to deposit this check. My dad collected ssi when he became disabled on the job. I filled out the waiver and it got denied. I dont know how it took then around 11 years to discover that they were overpaying this money I did not ask for this money and i dont have 47,000 laying around to give them I am just a young man trying to survive. If any one has any advice for me please I would welcome it …. Tim

  • Lucky-seven

    06/15/2011
    D-Day!!!   Tomorrow I represent myself before a SocialSecurity representative for my final Repayment waiver Request review.
    On 12/10/2010 it was discovered I had been receiving SSA checks in error and would have to pay it back through no fault of my own. This discovery happened at a meeting at SS  while applying for benefits for a grown handicapped son.
    SS FINDINGS/discoveries at that 12/10 11 meeting:
    1. Our son was eligible for SSA benefits    
    2.  I was not!     
    3. SS had qualified me in 2001 under  my husband’s earnings in error in 2001 while he was initially applying for his Medicare Part”A” at age 65.5       
    4. SS began sending me small SSA checks until 12/10/2010 and SS wants repayment.
    BACKGROUND FACTS:
    In 2001 SS had documents showing my full time taching employment and my retirement-income- prediction for 2003.
    I’m now 74, retired 7 years, under financial-hardship barely making ends meet, my husband is 75 -deaf-with 5 bypass surgery… and I am the overseer for the care and business of our handicapped son… and I’m being asked to repay nearly $37K. 
    Your preceding information of cases is helpful and I’m hopeful and thankful for the information you have provided. I know I need legal help, but so far NO one on the SS provided list of possible help has responded. This leaves it all on me and I’m nervous. Will  SS force us to sell our home of 44 years, or cash in  my only remaining-dwindling needed income (IRA) or what?????……
    Question:
    Is there any time statute on how far SS can go back for collection?
    Thanks for any reply you can post.
     (Retired Public School Teacher for over 36 years)

  • John Spinelli

    SS said in Jan 2008 I made too much money working while on SSDI, and as such, I did SGA and was overpaid from April 2008 on. I have a ALJ hearing set for 8/31. In my request for the ALJ, I submitted my pay and time records for 1/2008 proving I made only $847 gross in 1/2008, and therefore did not make too much money and SS claim I was and did SGA is incorrect. I can’t find an attorney to represent me in this matter, but I want one.

    Subsequently, I got a letter then stating it wasn’t just 1/2008 I made too much but for all of 2008 I did and THAT then was the reason I was overpaid. I enlisted the aid of my Congressman’s office. Since then I got my ALJ hearing date. However, the ALJ letter only says the issue is if I was overpaid but it doesnt say during when. I know I need to go look at my file and write the Hearing Officer to find out if they are talking about just 1/2008 as I responded to in my ALJ request or the whole of 2008 as SS was trying to subsequently claim but seems to have backed away from after hearing from my Congressman.

    If it is just 1/2008 that is the issue, other than my pay and time records from my employer, what other evidence could I present? In my ALJ request, I cross referenced each day worked to the time sheet and even calculated the money paid for each day. Not only did I show each day’s pay but then showed a total for each pay period and matched that to the pay record.

    To me it is obvious I did not make too much money in 1/2008 and therefore did not do SGA and was not overpaid. However…I realize this is SS with which I am dealing.

    Doesn’t it help that my request for and expedited reinstatement of my SSDI benefits was approved and my state’s Disability Determination worker found me to still be considered disabled and my benefits began again as of 12/2010?

    Please advise. Thanks.

  • Dlewis5334

    I filed an appeal with the appeals
    council and then I filed a new claim while the Appeals Council appeal was still
    deciding the denial of the first claim. I was granted SSI on the new claim I
    filed while the Appeals Council appeal was still deciding the denial of the
    first claim. Today I received a notice of appeals council action, which they
    denied my request for
    review. I now have to file a civil action against the
    commissioner. I would appreciate it if I can get some good suggestions on my
    next task in filing my civil action. I have 60 days to respond starting October
    25, 2011. How do I get the civil complaint form? SSI said they don`t have the
    forms, they was not any help.

  • Dlewis5334

    I am at the stage now where I have to go to the Federal Goverment with a civil action and I don`t where to start as far as getting the right application, the basics. I would appreacite if you can pass me some information on this matter. Anything would help.

  • Dlewis5334

    Hi Brian, I have an overpayment case I have been fighting for about 6 years. I filed a new application while the Appeals Council appeal was still deciding the
    denial of the first claim. I was granted SSI on the new claim I filed while the  Appeals Council appeal was still deciding the denial of the first claim.  I am now at the stage where I received a notice October 25, 2011 of appeals council action. I need help with finding articals and cited cases on what I need to do in my task in filing a civil action against the commissioner? Any help would appreciated.

    Thanks Dennis

  • Dlewis5334

    My main concern is I had been receiving SSI
    checks for over 10 years. I was revaluated and I was found no longer disable. I appealed
    and SSI found that I had gotten better but still disable. So I went through the
    administrative appeal process. While the council was deciding my first denial I
    filed a new application with the same evidence medical records and reasons I clime
    to be disable and that new application was granted. I am now at the point where
    I have to file a civil action. I want to know since SSI granted my new
    application while the first appeal was still pending doesn`t that mean that I
    was still disable when SSI said I was no longer disable? Shouldn’t  SSI just run that first application with the
    new application? Any help would be appreciated.
    thanks, Dennis

  • J0e6chip

    Winning isn’t te end. What Escrow????  My daughter receives an Auxiliary Benefit due to my disability. Her mother and I are divorced and we had equal parenting time with no support ordered. Her mother contacted Social Security and said I had never provided anything for my daughter. There is no way for her to substantiate that because there was a no contact order in place because of her actions towards me. The ALJ ruled that my daughters mother had been dishonest and misleading in obtaining payee status. He found that I had not caused an overpayment or misused my daughters benefit. Social Security had taken substantial funds out of my benefit to repay the alleged overpayment prior to the ALJ ruling. I was told it would go into escrow until the ruling. Upon exiting the court room I asked the Social Security Representative how I would go about getting the money out of escrow. They said that the money had already been used in benefit of the child. I have no idea what paperwork to request, or what questions to ask because no one seems to know anything about this situation when I meet with them. Are their any avenues for obtaining Auxiliary Benefit information when I am not the payee?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Try Social Security Advice Online. They are a national company made up of former Social Security managers. Note: this is a private company not affiliated with the Social Security Administration. You can reach them at http://socialsecurityadviceonline.com and (513) 860-5924 , (513) 779-7439. 

  • MariS729

    10 years ago my mother started recieving benefits for my brother and I because my father was deemed disabled. I was under 18, the payments went to my mother and I didn’t recieve any money after I was over 18. Social security is now coming after me for $14,000 which is the total amount my mother recieved for both my brother and I. In the middle of getting my paperwork in for the 632, they took my tax return. My monthly expenses come out even with my income. Do you think I would fall under the guidelines of “without fault” and I will get my tax return back?

  • jill

    Can you offer me any direction? Apparently ss never adjusted my first two children’s benefit when we add our third. It has already been determined that it wasnt our fault. Now we are trying to prove that the overpayment recovery would be against equity and good conscience because 2 1/2 years ago i lost my Job and we decided I should go back to school to retrain instead of moving to NJ for a possible lateral position. All the decisions we made were based on what income the kids had coming in. If we go for the waiver and fill in the financial information, we feel we will lose because I have a 401 from my job and they would considered this income to use to repay the overpayment. So right now we are just being reviewed for the against equity and good conscience. can you offer any direction. I have tried to find a lawyer to help me but haven;t had any luck.

  • LordZordec

    This is a semi-long story, but if you keep reading you will see an amusing example of the SSA in its infinite bureaucratic wisdom in action. In the mid-90s, my mother and I lived in poverty in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, one of the poorest areas of the country. In 1996, my father applied for Social Security Disability benefits, and as his minor child not living with him, I filed a claim for benefits as well. (My mother was awarded custody in the divorce.) I was a teenager, probably younger than 18 when I filled out the form, and who knows if I did it right, but I certainly did not maliciously enter wrong information. I might add that no one at the SSA office offered to help me either. Once my father was finally awarded benefits in 1999, I received a lump sum for back payment. However, at this point as a legal adult, I was no longer due any further payments, so that was the end of the matter. My total lump sum amount was $25,000, but roughly half of that was deducted because my father was receiving workman’s comp at the time. My mother and I were living well below the federal poverty line, and I was a full-time student, so this small chunk of change came in handy. I bought a $700 beat-up Ford (which got wrecked due to no fault of my own), bought a car from my dad for $500 (which got totaled six months later), bought another Ford for $900 and then had the transmission rebuilt for $2,000. I paid $2,200 a year for car insurance, kept the gas tank filled, bought food, and once I graduated from vocational school, I used the last bit of money to move to another state to get a job. During this time, I also had to pay some expensive medical bills out of pocket – some emergency dental work, a cat scan, numerous visits to the doctor for sinus issues, mental issues, and the associated prescribed medicines. If not for the $12,500, it would not have been possible for me to pay any of these. So, its not as if I went nuts, bought a big screen TV, a 4-wheeler, and a Playstation with my money. I used it to – exist. The word “live” has slightly incorrect connotations for the situation.

    Fast forward to last year – 2012. No less than thirteen years after I received my lump sum, a letter is sent to MY MOTHER’S HOUSE from SSA to inform me that I owed them $7,700 in back payment. I live on the other side of the country now, and it is quite fortunate that my mother even still lives at that address. As a woman in bad health she could have died or as a single woman actively dating, she could have remarried and moved to Beverly Hills to be with her millionaire husband. Whatever. The point is that I have not lived there since 2000, but SSA sent the over-payment letter there! I have filed tax returns everywhere I have lived, registered for driver’s licenses, registered vehicles, and a long laundry list of other normal interactions with the government where my address information is updated. Yet the SSA in their infinite bureaucratic wisdom, did not know where to send me a letter UNTIL my mother finally got around to forwarding me the letter and I filled out a the lengthy request for waiver form with my current address. By this time, the SSA had already setup payment arrangements and was then threatening to seize my tax returns if I didn’t pay them. (I setup my deductions every year so that I break even or slightly owe, so whatever…”Mr. Turnip, we are ready to get your blood sample…”)

    This is a travesty on justice! If I had willfully committed federal tax fraud in 1999, the statute of limitations would have run out in 2006 and the IRS couldn’t touch me. However, due to a mistake on THEIR part 13 years ago, the SSA is claiming that I owe them $7,700 now!?! BULL-$#!%!!!

    The purpose of statutes of limitation is to keep a person from having to defend themselves against charges so long after the fact when evidence had been lost and memories had faded. This originates from the 6th amendment of the Constitution which guarantees a FAIR and SPEEDY trial. Applying this principal to the situation at hand, not only is it unconscionable and unfair by any degree of common sense for the SSA to come after me after for repayment after 13 years, it is also UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The confusing and vague statutes mentioned in this article should be amended to bring them in line with the Constitution, or the SSA is no better than an agency of the People’s Republic of China! If and when I take this to a federal judge, those are the exact words I intend to use!

  • Lisa

    Hello, I get SSI and just got an overpayment letter that has me completely confused. I did not work at all since being disabled and did not go over the income limit so I have no idea why I got this. Worse, when I called SS they didn’t seem to know either and said they can’t give me an appointment until next month. Well the letter says if they don’t hear from me in 30 days I will owe all this money and lose my medicaid. I have mental illness and really can’t deal with this stress. If I lose my insurance and rent money it will destroy my life. I am reading what all you folks are going through and it’s making me scared. I can’t imagine what triggered this especially since they are claiming this is from January 2011 until now. I have not worked one day in over 10 years and have no income other than what I am allowed to have. What do I do? I called but that did not resolve it. Is this some kind of scam to just get money out of people who don’t have it?

  • Lisa

    Hi this is Lisa again, the one with SSI and mental illness. I wanted to ask Mr. Ginsberg if there is someone like him in the long Island area who can help me at no cost. I’m afraid of these people and would like someone to go up there with me to help me deal with this.

  • Lisa

    Lisa again, sorry to keep posting but I forgot to add a few things. I just recently had a disability review, in December 2012. I got a letter just a week ago informing me that I am still disabled according to their rules and that they are increasing my SSI amount so in my mind everything was just fine which is why I don’t understand this overpayment thing. I have not worked at all, no work programs or trial work periods, I have not gotten married, gone to school or inherited anything or received any other type of income. All this was asked when my SSI review happened and I was told that I am still below income level and qualify. Then 2 weeks later this overpayment letter. No one can tell me what triggered it so I examined my bank statements and I am always below the amount I am allowed to have. Today is january 15 and they claim they can’t give me an appointment until february 11 when the letter says I only have 30 days to appeal. That means if that if I can’t resolve this on feb 11 I have only 4 days to appeal. How can I file an appeal in such a short time frame? HELP. I searched the SSA website to look for information that related to my case and could not find any that relates to my situation.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Lisa. There are a number of Social Security disability lawyers in the Long Island area. https://www.google.com/search?q=long+island+social+security+disability+lawyer

    I encourage you to try to get a free consultation with someone who can review your documents and help you understand what is happening on your case and your rights.

    Good luck!

  • Lisa

    Thanks so much Tom. Will these people take me for free? I cannot afford to pay someone. I really don’t understand this overpayment business at all. They claim I was overpaid in january of 2011 but my income was under $2,000 from that time and I was not working. My bank income was from SS exclusively. How do they come up with this crazy idea that I was overpaid? I feel like I am being bullied by these people. I called the SS office and they won’t even see me until feb. 11 which will be more than 30 days since I got my letter. Am I screwed?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Lisa,

    I can’t answer that. In my opinion, you need someone to review what’s going on and go over your options with you. There is a time limit on appealing an overpayment. So, I wouldn’t wait too long.

  • Bob W

    Well in a perfect world which is fair and equitable, I’m thoroughly convinced that my overpayment would have been waived. However after reading your article, I’m just wasting my time fighting THEIR mistake that was made twice! That really sucks…SSA; you’re representatives are incompetent beyond reproach

  • berri504

    My son is autistic and they have reduced his check to almost 50.00 a month. At the time i’m not employed all i get is child support which isn’t 1000.00 a month they sent a letter stating a over payment of altogether almost 5000.00 dollar he was never getting the full amount. If its anybody fault its their own but of course they wont admit to that….SSA where do find your employees at

  • ozzy

    SSI disability is funded by your local welfare department , it is governed by the welfare rules of your State. REGULAR SSDA IS regulated by Social Security for People who were born with Mental Retardation….

  • Kimberly

    Last year SSA took my income taxes due to this. I’ve been fighting them for a year now. Still trying. Anyone learn how to stop the overpayments? If so, I really need some help here. It’s hard taking care of a family then you have someone in the back saying give me all you money at the end of the year.

  • Amy

    My husband just found out he was actually underpaid. They had his workers compensation offset wrong. They had him making the amount as each week instead of every 2 weeks. We had to submit paperwork from workers comp payments. Not sure how this happened? We had a lawyer handle everything for us also.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    The simple truth is many, if not most lawyers limit the representation to proving disability. That is the “top of mind” issue that causes people to hire a lawyer. Checking the benefit amount is usually not in the scope of representation.

  • Grandpamike09

    I received social security disability while I was off work with cancer. I went back to work 11 months later. I called SSA and told them, I was told I had a 9 month trial work period, I was sent a letter quarterly saying I was in my trial work period and would continue receding benefits. When trial work period ended I received 4 more checks which I returned, now they say I was overpaid 14,000 how is this my fault at all?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It sounds like it may be worth appealing the decision. Keep in mind that there is a time limit to filing an appeal AND a waiver is a not an appeal.