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SSA practice deemed 'unjust' receives notice of extinction

Applying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration is a process that is rarely described by using terms like “easy, uncomplicated, calming, a breeze” or any other light adjective. This is precisely why a lot of people in North Carolina may choose to hire an attorney to navigate the incredibly complex process.

Receiving benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs isn’t just about getting an application approved. Beneficiaries have an ongoing relationship with the SSA. For instance, continuing disability reviews are conducted to ensure that the recipient is still eligible for the benefits that they receive.

What happens when the SSA determines that there has been an overpayment made to a beneficiary? Individuals rely on the amount of benefits they receive, but the SSAs definition of “rely” doesn’t always coincide with that of the beneficiary. When the SSA determines that an overpayment has been made, it is considered a debt.

In order to collect some of these debts, the SSA has chosen in the past to seize a taxpayer’s refund. In some cases, this practice was even used a decade after the overpayment was made.

In a letter to Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-California, and Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, wrote that “while this policy of seizing tax refunds…might be allowed under the law, it is entirely unjust.” It appears as though Colvin heard that criticism. On Monday, April 14, Colvin announced that the SSA would be immediately ending that practice.

That Wilmington attorney mentioned above isn’t just a lifesaver during the initial claims process. Although visits may be minimal after benefits have been awarded, it is another relationship that can and should remain intact. And this partner has only one goal: to act in the best interests of the client.

Source: US News, “After complaints, Social Security stops having tax refunds seized to settle decade-old debts,” Stephen Ohlemacher, April 14, 2014

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