Social Security Overpayments: What to do When The Social Security Administration Says You Owe Them Money

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends you a benefits check when they should not. Many different events may cause overpayments to occur. Some examples are: a change in your living situation, a marriage, a change in your disability status, an increase in income, or a return to work. The overpayment recovery process must begin with a formal Notice of Overpayment that SSA sends to you. This notice must contain:

Do not ignore the notice of overpayment. You have the right to challenge an overpayment, but there may be time limits. You must act quickly.

How can I respond to a Notice of Overpayment?

You have three options to respond. They are:

Your Three Options in Cases of SSA Overpayments:


Request for Reconsideration (SSA Form 561-U2)

Request for Waiver (SSA Form 632-BK)

Negotiate A Payment Plan

Where can I get the Request for Reconsideration or a Request for Waiver forms?

You can call or visit your local SSA office and ask for these forms. You can also find these forms on the SSA’s website at

Can I file both a Request for Reconsideration and a Request for Wavier?

You may if you think that both apply.

Can I appeal Request for Reconsideration and Request for Waiver decisions?

You can appeal both the Request for Reconsideration and the Request for Waiver decisions. The decision notice SSA sends you will list your appeal rights. As with your other appeal rights, these rights have time limits. You need to act immediately.

What can I do to try to avoid an overpayment?

You must report to SSA anytime you go to work or change jobs. Also, report any change in your monthly income from work. When you report, ask for a receipt or keep some kind of proof that you reported and when you reported for your records. You can contact SSA to learn more about what other changes you should also report. More information about reporting can be found in the SSA publications: “What You Need To Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits” located at and “What You Need To Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)” located at REFERENCE: The Social Security website page for Overpayments is at:

Upon request, alternative formats of this fact sheet are available from P&A, including large print or Braille.

This publication was adapted from a publication of the same name by Equip for Equality – the Protection and Advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Illinois. We thank Equip for Equality for giving us permission to use their publication.

This publication provides legal information, but is not intended to be legal advice. The information was based on the law at the time it was written. As the law may change, please contact P&A for updates.

This publication was funded with program income received by P&A from while representing clients under the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program. It was reviewed for technical accuracy by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, it should not be considered an official SSA document and does not necessarily represent the official views of SSA.
P&A does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, veteran status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other class protected by law in the provision of its programs or services. Pete Cantrell is P&A’s designated coordinator for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. October 2012 – PABSS

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