Can the Social Security Administration Collect My Tax Refund?

Did your parents die owing the Social Security Administration (SSA) debt? You need to be aware that the agency can collect debts from taxpayers if their parents were overpaid, and sometimes the overpayments could have occurred decades ago. Photo of money

Sadly, even though the SSA announced in April it would put an end to these types of collection attempts, they have continued to occur. According to the Washington Post, as of April, when the SSA announced that it would put an end to the practice, the agency had collected $75 million in tax refunds from about 400,000 Americans whose ancestors owed money.

In one instance, a 58-year-old Maryland woman whose father died in 1960 has filed a federal lawsuit against the agency over repeated collection attempts. The woman has faced several collection attempts after her father died and her mother got survivor benefits to help feed and clothe her siblings. The agency allegedly overpaid the benefits. With her mother now dead, the agency has begun to contact her for back payments.

When asked why the agency is continuing debt collection attempts after saying it would stop, a representative with the SSA told the Post, “We are finalizing our review of the Treasury offset program, but cannot discuss specifics due to the pending litigation.”

The continued collection attempts have upset many politicians. According to the Post, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) have sent letters to acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin expressing outrage over the issue.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

It is unfortunate that the SSA is continuing to perform collection attempts on innocent victims. You should contact the agency if a garnishment has been made or one has been attempted, and you have questions.

Our attorneys work directly with people attempting to apply for or appeal Social Security Disability Insurance decisions. For more information about this process, you can visit our Social Security FAQ page.

Again, if you are experiencing issues involving overpayments, you should contact the SSA or the Department of Treasury immediately to avoid issues. Contact our office if you are interested in actually applying for benefits or need assistance with an appeal.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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