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The average American who receives social security benefits earns around $1,180 every month. Because of this meager amount most social security recipients operate on a tight budget and can’t afford to pay for unexpected expenses. Things like unexpected medical bills or making emergency home repairs can be hard to recover from. Some social security recipients may try to prepare for these situations by saving up an emergency nest egg, but very few recipients actively prepare for the Social Security Administration unexpectedly cutting their benefits.
Wanda Ames lives in Medford, Oregon, and receives social security benefits for her spinal arthritis. She receives $766 from social security and $350 with food stamps per month and her husband is currently unemployed and looking for work.
Last month she received a letter in the mail from the SSA. This letter informed Ames that she owes the SSA $260 for an overpayment made to Ames’s mother more than 40 years ago.
The SSA claimed that if Ames was unable to pay the $260 that the amount would be deducted from her next month’s payment. Ames thinks the overpayment happened when her mother went on social security and claimed Ames, who was 16 at the time, as a dependent.
In 2008 Congress removed a law that placed a 10-year statute of limitations for debt collections. Now, government agencies can try to collect outstanding debts regardless of how old the bill is or how small the amount may be.
A representative from the SSA claimed that Ames is not the only recipient to be hit with this outstanding bill, but no firm numbers of exactly how many people received these letters have been disclosed.
Ames does have the option to file a waiver to get the bill removed if she can prove the bill would cause her difficulty paying for basic living essentials.
If you received a letter from the SSA claiming you owe money for an outstanding debt that may or may not belong to you, it is strongly recommended you file a waiver within 30 days of receiving the original notification. The attorneys at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law have the expertise to ensure all the proper paperwork is filed in time and in the correct manner.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law