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My brother's SSI has been cut off.

Santee, CA |

My brother's SSI has been cut off because they found out he purchased an investment property 6 years ago. In 2007 he transferred that property into the trust and it is in the trust until today. The property is upsite down and in foreclosure. We got a letter from SSI stating that we need to repay everything he received since 2009, it means the amount of $9.665.00. Because my brother in mentally disabled, SSI wants me to repay that money. What to do?

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

one's options include:

1) ask for a waiver on collection of the overpayment on the grounds that collection "would defeat the purposes for which the program was established"; ask for this waiver as soon as possible

2) dispute the overpayment within the time (appeal) deadline based on the "notice of overpayment"

3) consider asking for continuing benefits (you only have ten days form the date of 'notice of cessation') but you may have to repay these too if you do not prevail

4) be aware that for may month he had resources valued at more than $3000 he was not eligible for SSI and will have to repay money from that month

5) repay the overpayment - if he is still on benefits he can repay 10% each month and they will not hassle him for more

6) try to find an attorney to assist your brother

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

Posted

You don't say why SSA expects you to repay the SSI benefits that SSA says your brother shouldn't have received. Were you your brother's representative payee for the past 6 years? If not, it's not clear why SSA would expect you to be responsible for your brother's actions.

It's not clear, from the facts you've provided, how your brother, while on SSI benefits had the money to purchase an "investment property". If he purchased the property with a loan, then the loan amount might be deductible from the alleged fair market value at the time of purchase. Placement of a property into a trust wouldn't necessarily make the property exempt from being included by SSA in determining the value of your brother's resources.

As Mr. Wayson indicates, your brother (or you, if you were his representative payee) can request a waiver of the overpayment. Here is information on requesting waivers: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10098.html

If SSA has not already started to collect the overpayment, it is possible to request a waiver and request that SSA not begin collecting the overpayment from your brother's benefits within a certain amount of time after receiving the notice of overpayment. The Notice should state the time period and the time period generally begins from the date of the notice.

It can be difficult to obtain legal representation other than from Legal Aid in overpayment cases. That's because there may be no potential retroactive benefits for an attorney fee to be paid from. However, it may be worth your while to pay for a consultation with an attorney experienced in Social Security disability law, so that he/she can evaluate your & your brother's situation and offer advice on your choices in dealing with it.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Oregon. Responses are based solely on Oregon law unless stated otherwise.