Recovering Supplemental Security Income Overpayments from Jointly Liable Recipients

Date: 
Monday, May 1, 2017
Report Number: 
A-07-17-50201
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

We issued this report to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had maximized overpayment recovery efforts by attempting to recover Supplemental Security Income (SSI) overpayments from jointly liable recipients.

An overpayment occurs when funds an individual receives for any period exceed the allowable amount. SSA initially attempts to recover an overpayment from the SSI recipient. However, SSA can also attempt to recover the overpayment from the jointly liable representative payee and/or spouse.

A representative payee is jointly liable for an individual’s overpayment when the payee used the overpaid funds for the SSI recipient’s support and maintenance, and the payee knew, or reasonably should have known, the facts that caused the overpayment.

An overpaid recipient’s spouse is jointly liable for an overpayment when he/she was receiving SSI payments as a member of an eligible couple when the overpayment occurred.

From 1 segment of the Supplemental Security Record, we identified 2,915 SSI overpayments that had outstanding balances between $235 and $65,841 as of May 2016.