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‘I cannot understand how they can do this to people’: Social Security admits to overpaying


‘I cannot understand how they can do this to people’: Social Security admits to overpaying a North Texas widow by $41K — and now demands she pay the money back. How did this happen?

‘I cannot understand how they can do this to people’: Social Security admits to overpaying a North Texas widow by $41K — and now demands she pay the money back. How did this happen?

Delfina Prisock’s heart “dropped to the floor” when she received an overpayment notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The North Texas retiree was shocked to learn she had been overpaid Social Security survivor benefits by an eye-watering $41,514 over the course of nearly three years.

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Despite an SSA employee allegedly admitting they “made a mistake” with her benefits, Prisock was still ordered to repay the entire sum, according to Fox 4 News report from Texas.

“I can’t sleep. It’s just affecting me in a lot of ways,” Prisock told Fox 4 reporter Lori Brown, while fighting back tears. “I just cannot understand how they can do this to people.”

She appealed the repayment order but was denied three times — and sadly, her story is not uncommon. Here’s why Americans are receiving overpayment notices from the SSA.

A costly ‘human error’

Prisock said her life turned upside down when she received the letter from the SSA in May 2023. She shared the document with Fox 4 and it reads as follows:

“We reduce Social Security benefits paid to widows or widowers if they also receive a government pension based on their own work. We reduce benefits by two-thirds of the amount of the pension. Your benefit is less than two-thirds of the amount of the pension. For this reason, we cannot pay you… We paid you $87,250.80 for June 2020 through April 2023. Since we should have paid you $45,736.80 for June 2020 through April 2023, we paid you $41,514 more than you were due.”

Essentially, Prisock wasn’t eligible to claim survivor benefits from her late husband because she also received a pension through the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

She claims she told the SSA about her state pension and that an agent called her up when she first received the overpayment notice, admitting: “I made a mistake. I’m human… it was during COVID.”

“I’m human as well — and I didn’t make the mistake,” Prisock said, in a reasonable argument for why she shouldn’t have to dig up $41,000 to cover a government agency’s error.

Prisock’s letter from the SSA said she’ll receive her monthly retirement benefit check of $1,128.20 until the agency starts to collect the overpayment — at which point, it could reduce or halt her benefits until her debt is covered.

“I depend on my Social Security to help me with my retirement… to help me with my house payment, my car payment, my everyday bills,” she said in distress.

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The SSA claws back billions

In recent years, the SSA has clawed back billions of dollars from overpayments to senior and disabled Americans.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the SSA’s “Management Advisory Report” for fiscal year 2023 (Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023) revealed that the SSA recovered over $4.9 billion in overpayments.

But the SSA ended the year with $23 billion of overpayments still uncollected — a sure sign that many more Americans will be receiving these dreaded notices in the mail.

The OIG audit said: “SSA must be a responsible steward of the funds entrusted to its care by minimizing the risk of making improper payments and recovering overpayments when they occur.”

If you do receive an overpayment notice from the SSA, you’re typically given at least 30 days to pay back the full amount or to submit an official appeal for a waiver or reconsideration.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.



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