It is not uncommon for my firm to receive a telephone call from a client stating that they received a letter from Social Security indicating that they have been overpaid. This letter is known as a letter of overpayment.
Overpayments can be generated in many different ways. For example, if you have started working or have income or earnings that Social Security was unaware of an overpayment could be generated.
When you receive a notice of overpayment it is important that you take action immediately. I strongly recommend that my clients make an appointment with their local Social Security office instead of trying to resolve this by telephone. It is very difficult to get in touch with a knowledgeable Social Security employee by phone and you will probably have better results if you can sit down with a live person to explain your situation.
The first order of business is to get an explanation as to how the overpayment was generated. If it appears that there is an overpayment, you have two options. The first, you can ask for a waiver claiming that the overpayment was not your fault and you do not have the financial means to pay the money back. If a waiver cannot be granted, you should ask for a payment plan so that you will be able to pay the money owed in small increments over the course of a long period of time.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the overpayment, the worse thing you can do is take no action at all.