42 U.S.C. 404 - Overpayments and underpayments

Cite as:42 U.S.C. 404
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) Procedure for adjustment or recovery

(1) Whenever the Commissioner of Social Security finds that more or less than the correct amount of payment has been made to any person under this subchapter, proper adjustment or recovery shall be made, under regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of Social Security, as follows:

(A) With respect to payment to a person of more than the correct amount, the Commissioner of Social Security shall decrease any payment under this subchapter to which such overpaid person is entitled, or shall require such overpaid person or his estate to refund the amount in excess of the correct amount, or shall decrease any payment under this subchapter payable to his estate or to any other person on the basis of the wages and self-employment income which were the basis of the payments to such overpaid person, or shall obtain recovery by means of reduction in tax refunds based on notice to the Secretary of the Treasury as permitted under section 3720A of title 31, or shall apply any combination of the foregoing. A payment made under this subchapter on the basis of an erroneous report of death by the Department of Defense of an individual in the line of duty while he is a member of the uniformed services (as defined in section 410(m) of this title) on active duty (as defined in section 410(l) of this title) shall not be considered an incorrect payment for any month prior to the month such Department notifies the Commissioner of Social Security that such individual is alive.

(B)

(i) Subject to clause (ii), with respect to payment to a person of less than the correct amount, the Commissioner of Social Security shall make payment of the balance of the amount due such underpaid person, or, if such person dies before payments are completed or before negotiating one or more checks representing correct payments, disposition of the amount due shall be made in accordance with subsection (d).

(ii) No payment shall be made under this subparagraph to any person during any period for which monthly insurance benefits of such person-

(I) are subject to nonpayment by reason of section 402(x)(1) of this title, or

(II) in the case of a person whose monthly insurance benefits have terminated for a reason other than death, would be subject to nonpayment by reason of section 402(x)(1) of this title but for the termination of such benefits,

until section 402(x)(1) of this title no longer applies, or would no longer apply in the case of benefits that have terminated.

(iii) Nothing in clause (ii) shall be construed to limit the Commissioner's authority to withhold amounts, make adjustments, or recover amounts due under this subchapter, subchapter VIII or subchapter XVI that would be deducted from a payment that would otherwise be payable to such person but for such clause.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when any payment of more than the correct amount is made to or on behalf of an individual who has died, and such payment-

(A) is made by direct deposit to a financial institution;

(B) is credited by the financial institution to a joint account of the deceased individual and another person; and

(C) such other person was entitled to a monthly benefit on the basis of the same wages and self-employment income as the deceased individual for the month preceding the month in which the deceased individual died,

the amount of such payment in excess of the correct amount shall be treated as a payment of more than the correct amount to such other person. If any payment of more than the correct amount is made to a representative payee on behalf of an individual after the individual's death, the representative payee shall be liable for the repayment of the overpayment, and the Commissioner of Social Security shall establish an overpayment control record under the social security account number of the representative payee.

(3)

(A) When any payment of more than the correct amount is made on behalf of an individual who is a represented minor beneficiary for a month in which such individual is in foster care under the responsibility of a State and the State is the representative payee of such individual, the State shall be liable for the repayment of the overpayment, and there shall be no adjustment of payments to, or recovery by the United States from, such individual.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term "represented minor beneficiary" has the meaning given such term in subsection (j)(11)(B)(iii).1

(b) Access to financial information for old-age, survivors, and disability insurance waivers

(1) In any case in which more than the correct amount of payment has been made, there shall be no adjustment of payments to, or recovery by the United States from, any person who is without fault if such adjustment or recovery would defeat the purpose of this subchapter or would be against equity and good conscience.

(2) In making for purposes of this subsection any determination of whether any individual is without fault, the Commissioner of Social Security shall specifically take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitation such individual may have (including any lack of facility with the English language).

(3)

(A) In making for purposes of this subsection any determination of whether such adjustment or recovery would defeat the purpose of this subchapter, the Commissioner of Social Security shall require an individual to provide authorization for the Commissioner to obtain (subject to the cost reimbursement requirements of section 1115(a) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act [ 12 U.S.C. 3415 ]) from any financial institution (within the meaning of section 1101(1) of such Act [ 12 U.S.C. 3401(1) ]) any financial record (within the meaning of section 1101(2) of such Act [ 12 U.S.C. 3401(2) ]) held by the institution with respect to such individual whenever the Commissioner determines the record is needed in connection with a determination with respect to such adjustment or recovery.

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