My story isn’t one of horror yet, but it will be soon if I don’t get help. I’ve been widowed nearly 20 years. Actually it will be 20 years exactly on December 24th. I’ve been raising my son on my own ever since. He is 19, so yes, I was pregnant at the age of 37 when my husband passed away. After initially drawing SS benefits for myself and my son, through a lot of very hard work and butt kicking, I was able to advance in my career and my earnings outpaced my eligibility for benefits. I suppose I could have taken a step back and worked less and collected my benefits, but I was proud of myself and the example I was setting for my son. Now as I’m getting older, my butt kicking days are over. I’ve slowed down and the career I once loved has become too physically demanding for my aging body, which has taken a beating over the years. I sought out other jobs but the reality is, no one wants to hire a woman my age, especially in the fields where I’m qualified. I decided that it was time to allow myself to slow down. I got a job that I absolutely love and find so fulfilling, and decided I would restart my social security survivors benefits to try to fill the large gap in pay. (I drive a school bus for special needs children.) Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Administration says I owe them $11k! That’s a lot of money for someone who currently has $2.66 in the bank. I have a mortgage and my son is going to community college. I’m actually frozen in fear right now as to what to do. I know I can file an appeal but I’m afraid to make a move without getting some advice. Will appealing to get the “debt” wiped make me ineligible to appeal to get it reduced? Will I be able to get a reduced benefit while they withhold payments? I really need help. In my experience in dealing with the Administration in the past, they haven’t been the most friendly and helpful people. Thank you for any and all help you might be able to provide! I am so grateful for the work you do!