SSA can collect from your benefits
If you are still getting benefits, Social Security will stop or lower your monthly benefit until you have paid back the overpayment.
If you get SSI, your benefit can’t be lowered by more than 10% of your income.
If you only get benefits from Social Security that are not SSI, SSA can take your whole monthly payment. But, if you can show hardship, SSA will accept a lower monthly payment. Usually you will have to pay back at least $10 a month. SSA tries to get the overpayment paid back within three years if you get benefits other than SSI.
SSA can take your tax refund or some of your wages
If you are not getting benefits from SSA, they can take your tax refund. They can also “garnish” your wages. Garnish means that money is taken out of your wages to repay SSA.
SSA must give you notice 60 days before it can take steps to get your tax refund or garnish your wages. This gives you time to contact SSA to ask for a repayment plan. SSA can’t garnish your wages if you have a repayment plan and you aren’t behind in payments.
SSA can collect from your family
If you have a Social Security overpayment and your family members get benefits from your account, SSA can collect the overpayment from you or your family.
SSI can be collected from either spouse if the couple was on SSI at the time of the overpayment.