Good afternoon Terry,
When I watched the 60 minutes segment last night about the Social Security administration overpayments I about jumped out of my wheelchair! My case is very very similar to those featured in last night’s show and I felt compelled to let someone know that I too experienced an overpayment exceeding $100,000. I have also dealt with Social Security for over 15 years trying to correct and now eventually repay that overpayment. I have used a wheelchair since 1983 due to a diving accident that caused permanent paralysis from the chest down from a spinal cord injury. I am also legal guardian and caregiver to my 58-year-old younger brother with down syndrome. We live together in a very symbiotic relationship where we care for each other, a very remarkable story by itself but for another time which you might be interested in and if nothing else very entertained by. A quadriplegic and a person with down syndrome taking care of each other to keep us both out of an assisted living facility!
After my accident I returned to work and eventually created a career for myself learning how to write grants and manage construction projects for local government in a small town in northwest Arizona. I retired three years ago after 30 years of service for the city. When I was receiving Social Security disability benefits the administration allowed for my work to be subsidized, which it was. The city subsidized a certain portion of my salary which allowed for disability benefits to be paid to me. After many years SSA decided that subsidy was no longer valid and claimed I had an overpayment of something to the tune of $110,000. After I retired and applied for benefits to be reinstated, Social Security approved my new application but benefits that were being paid were immediately being withheld by SSA to repay that overpayment. Now in my retirement I have no recourse other than to wait until the overpayment has been satisfied. My brother and I struggle to get by on my pension when I fully counted on having disability benefits to supplement my pension. Yes my case is different because I was able to carve out a niche job and career but I don’t feel I should be penalized because I worked hard in spite of my wheelchair.
Like all other stories featured in last night’s 60 Minutes show, mine too is extremely complicated, long and drawn out and continues to this day. My benefits have been withheld to satisfy the overpayment which now carries a balance of around $60,000. Until that amount is satisfied I will not receive benefits and must continue to struggle taking care of myself and my brother. I have applied for a waiver which I am now with waiting for a decision from the Administrative Law Judge. A hearing was held in August and I still have no decision. The hearing took over four years to schedule all the time my benefits were being applied to the overpayment.
I was screaming at the TV last night about how similar my case was to those you featured. I understand you’re just part of that program but you are the first contact I could find that was associated with those stories. I hope you at least will listen to my story and wish me well, maybe even pass my story onto those who could help. My biggest frustration was to hear that those people featured in the 60 minutes segment or somehow magically given a waiver for their overpayments. I too would like to have mine magically waived simply by being featured somewhere. It seems so unfair that all of us with overpayments as indicated in the story must continue to fight SSA while those featured were able to get a waiver of their overpayments.
Thank you for listening to my story and if you have any questions please feel free to call me at the number above or send an email. Thank you very much!
This is outrageous and brings me to tears! I hope by telling these stories we can put pressure on Congress to STOP these clawbacks! Please let me know the results of your hearing — whenever they come!!
Thank you for posting. Sharing your story helps others understand they are not alone. And it helps us pressure the Congress to fix these situations immediately. I don’t think anyone has ever gathered all these stories together in one place so people in power can see the impact of this cruel and inept Social Security bureaucracy.
Here’s what we are aiming for — as fast as possible!
Sharing YOUR story helps us help others! Thank you!