Overpayment of almost 100 grand over a Two Thousand Dollar SSA Oversight

I was notified in October 2021 that I owe $92,432.70 in Social Security Disability overpayment due to a $2,000 oversight by SSA starting in 2017. I played football at Auburn University and then went on to teach and coach high school football for 30 years, have worked very hard throughout my career, paid taxes and have been a law abiding citizen. I had a massive heart attack in 2013 which forced me into early retirement and in 2014, began substitute teaching part time.

As you can see from the earnings table below, I have earned a very low income since my heart attack in 2013. In addition to my bad heart, I have a large upper aortic aneurysm that doctors do not want to operate on, along with a long list of other health issues that have hospitalized me numerous times.

SSA suddenly discontinued my disability payments in February of 2022 before giving me an opportunity to fight their claims, so at that point, I was forced to take early SS retirement and work more days as a substitute teacher so I could pay the bills. I had to pay out of pocket to continue my Medicare insurance and went months without any SS income at all until my SS retirement kicked in. I lost close to $400 a month in income with the switch from disability to retirement as well.

For 2018, a company in Nashville (Antique Archeology) erroneously added me to their employment roster and listed income for me with SSA and IRS and that changed my work status to the full time gainful employment bracket with Social Security. I was unaware that this happened as I never worked there and it was 2022 when I realized that this even happened. SSA never took me off of full time gainful employment for that year even after I convinced them that that income was in error and I was able to produce documents as proof. It took almost two years to get SSA to remove that income from my earnings record.

I took a longer assignment for a sick teacher in 2018, which pays a little more per day, and was not aware that I went over by $2,000 for that entire year and SSA says I owe every month of disability payments from 2017 (which is in error) through February of 2022. Being over by $2,000 for the earned income limit in ten years doesn’t warrant the almost $100,000 they are claiming that I owe in overpayment.

At the very least, SSA should have told me at the end of 2018 that I owe for that year and not wait until the end of 2021 so that they could amass a huge amount of overpayment and then continue collecting overpayment into 2022 while I was trying to figure out what happened. I have gone through every single step (including an ALJ hearing) offered to me to fight this and have lost.

Social Security ended my retirement benefit as of this month, including my Medicare insurance, and will take my benefit of $2,300 a month for the next four years. I have paid social security taxes for 40 years and now have no retirement income and no Medicare insurance. I know Congress is investigating SSA regarding this issue as it has happened to almost 2 million other disability recipients in the past two years.

My SS income:
Work Year Taxed Social Security Earnings
2022 $19,545 $19,545 — Now on SS retirement
Years on disability:
2021 $10,996 $10,996
2020 $4,708 $4,708
2019 $12,503 $12,503
2018 $16,814 $16,814
2017 $12,827 $12,827
2016 $13,088 $13,088
2015 $8,995 $8,995
2014 $6,807 $6,807

Terry Says

I have no words.  Just know that we are trying to get the Congressional subcommitee on Social Security to stop all clawbacks and restore benefits.  Your story will help!