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Collecting Title II Overpayments from Contingently Liable Beneficiaries

April 20, 2016

Office Affiliation: The Office of Audit

Audit Report Number: A-07-16-50089

Our objective was to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had maximized overpayment recovery efforts by attempting to collect Title II overpayments from contingently liable beneficiaries.

A beneficiary is overpaid when funds he/she receives for any period exceed the amount that should have been paid for that period. The overpaid beneficiary is primarily responsible for repaying the overpayment. However, any other beneficiary receiving benefits on the same earnings record as the overpaid beneficiary can be held liable for repaying the overpayment. This is known as contingent liability. When SSA cannot collect an overpayment from the overpaid beneficiary, it should attempt to collect the overpayment from contingently liable beneficiaries.

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