TN 22 (06-99)

GN 02210.016 Applying priority of adjustment - overpayment

A. Procedure — overpaid person alive

1. Benefits payable to the overpaid person

Propose full withholding of any benefit payable to the overpaid person in his/her own right.

2. Overpaid person is representative payee

Propose full withholding of the payment received as a payee on the overpayment record when requesting refund from the overpaid person.

3. Living in the same household

If adjustment is not possible based on 1. and 2. above and the overpaid person does not make refund, proposeadjustment of the benefit payable on the same earnings record to another person living in the same household as the overpaid person at the time of the overpayment. If there is more than one person in the same household, propose adjustment as follows:

  • number holder

  • spouse, including divorced spouse

  • widow(er), including divorced or remarried widow(er)

  • child

  • parent

Propose adjustment against the lowest PIC code first and then in ascending order (e.g., C1, C2, C3, etc.). If a PIC represents a combined payment, propose adjustment against all benefits in that PIC.

4. Living in a different household

If waiver is granted the other person(s), in 2. and 3. above or there are no such persons, continue normal recovery efforts against the overpaid person (e.g., followup bills, DCS telephone contact), up to consideration for civil suit (GN 02215.150).

Before developing for civil suit against an overpaid person, propose adjustment of the monthly benefit payable to any other person(s) who was in a different household when the overpayment occurred and who did not help to cause the overpayment. Apply the PIC priority in 3. above.

5. Overpaid person agrees to repay

If an overpaid person agrees to repay after adjustment against another person (same or different household) is initiated, stop the adjustment and reestablish the overpayment balance (via MADCAP/ROAR) for the overpaid person.

6. Adjustment not possible

If the overpayment cannot be recovered by adjustment,refer for possible civil suit against the debtor when the conditions for referral are met (GN 02215.150-GN 02215.180). If the conditions for referral are not met, discontinue collection efforts (GN 02215.235).

B. Procedure — overpaid person deceased

1. Priority of recovery

The priority of recovery is as follows:

  • Withhold any benefits due the deceased GN 02301.065).

  • Withhold any lump-sum death payment (LSDP) payable on the same earnings record. The LSDP is not a benefit payment. Therefore, do not withhold a LSDP payable on other than the overpayment earnings record.

  • Propose adjustment against benefits payable on the same earnings record to any person who was living in the same household with the overpaid person at the time of overpayment or helped cause the overpayment.

  • Propose recovery from any estate (or its distributees) if the overpayment is $3,000 or more (GN 02215.050).

  • Propose adjustment against benefits payable on the same earnings record to any person who was living in a separate household from the overpaid person at the time of the overpayment.

Note: Beginning December 4, 2008, 20 CFR Parts 404 and 416 have been revised. When a representative payee receives benefits intended for a beneficiary after the beneficiary has died, the representative payee is liable for repaying the overpayment. 42 U.S.C. 404(a)(2) and 1383(b)(2) have been clarified to say that we collect these overpayments solely from the representative payee and his estate. We do not collect from the benefits of the representative payee’s spouse, the estate of the spouse, the auxiliaries of the overpaid representative, or the deceased beneficiary’s estate. This policy applies only to overpayments occurring on or after December 4, 2008.

2. Joint liability

If joint and several liability is involved (e.g., a deceased overpaid beneficiary and a living representative payee), see GN 02205.007.