The Social Security Administration has a lot to juggle within the system including reviewing/ approving/denying applications, making sure beneficiaries get paid, and even collection on debts resulting from overpayments. What makes the debt collection portion of the SSA confusing is that much of these alleged debts are from overpayments that happened years ago.
Stop The Garnishments
Last week, Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin made the announcement that the agency would halt the garnishment program of debt collection while it conducts a review. The whole process began a few years ago when the SSA began collecting on debts that were tied to the overpayment of benefit funds for the last decade. Stating that beneficiaries had received more than originally allocated the SSA began making collection attempts, including garnishing tax refunds of beneficiaries.
With an estimated $650 million or more still owed to the SSA, the temporary pause of the debt collection program is appreciated, largely because it could be possible that the discrepancy arose from the use of a Treasury program for debt collection. For now, Colvin said the program was to be suspended “pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department.”