Social Security Administration Suspends Collections Program

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it was suspending a program where thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized for overpayments that may have occurred more than a decade ago.

According to the Associated Press, acting SSA commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review. Some members of Congress said citizens were reportedly being forced into repaying overpayments that were paid to their parents or guardians when they were children.

“While this policy of seizing tax refunds to repay decades-old Social Security overpayments might be allowed under the law, it is entirely unjust,” Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said in a letter to Colvin, according to the AP.

The SSA said that it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million, according to the AP. To date, the agency has collected about $55 million.

A 2008 law that allows federal government agencies to seize tax refunds that are more than 10 years old authorized the recollection program. Previously, there was a 10-year limit on collections.

“If any Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment under this program, I encourage them to request an explanation or seek options to resolve the overpayment,” Colvin said in a statement.

Can the SSA Take My Tax Refund for Overpayments?

The simple answer to this question is yes. However, various circumstances make collections prohibited. For example, the SSA’s own regulations mention that some forms of collect are only possible if (a) the person is not at fault, and (b) the recovery would not “deprive a person of income required for ordinary and necessary living expenses.”

This does not mean that you should avoid contacting the SSA or spend money that you think might be an overpayment—it may be wise to contact the agency if you feel like you may have received an overpayment, to avoid a potential headache and collection attempt later.

If you have questions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), contact a Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney. We offer free evaluations of your case. You can visit our Facebook page, our LinkedIn page and our Twitter page if you have questions about the disability process.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers


    I didn't think there was a caring professional considerate attorney firm on the planet, but Troutman & Troutman proved me wrong. From the receptionist to the legal assistance to the attorney and more they were exceptional people.

    - Robert S.

    They did a fantastic job getting everything gathered up and getting the trial done as quickly as possible. Anytime I had a question they were patient and help me understand what was going on. Especially Christy and Charlie were great.

    - Michael M.

    Steve Troutman was able to get my short-term and long-term disability for me. Then Erin another lawyer for their firm got my Social security disability for me. Great people.

    - Billy S.

    Mr. Troutman walked me through the entire process. Heather was available each time I called, answered all my crazy questions, and helped me fill out forms along the way. I was never treated like I was wasting time.

    - Julia C.

    Erin and Keith were fabulous! They were compassionate, helpful, and very responsive! They made the process very smooth and painless every step of the way.

    - Valerie W.

We Are Here to Help 

Free & Confidential Consultations
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.