TN 26 (02-04)

GN 02210.150 Recovery by Refund - Title II/Title XVI

A. Policy

Full and immediate refund is the preferred method of recovery, regardless of whether or not benefit adjustment is available.

1. When Refund Is Requested

Refund is requested:

  1. In an initial overpayment notice to an overpaid person whether or not benefit adjustment is proposed.

  2. When adjustment of the overpaid person's benefit is no longer available for recovery purposes.

  3. When an overpayment is affirmed on appeal.

  4. When waiver of recovery from the overpaid person is denied.

  5. In the notice proposing tax refund offset, administrative offset and credit bureau reporting.

  6. In the notice proposing mandatory cross program recovery.

  7. In the notice to employers for Administrative Wage Garnishment.

  8. In the notices for accepting or rejecting a compromise offer.

2. Exception To Refund Request

Refund is not requested when the overpayment can be fully recovered from a single month's benefit.

3. How Refund Should Be Made

Refund should be made by:

  1. Check or money order but cash is also acceptable; or

  2. Credit card. Acceptable cards are Master Card, VISA, Discover, American Express or Diner’s Club. (See GN 02210.152, GN 02403.006), or

  3. Return of a benefit check which is due and endorsed to SSA (GN 02403.006C.)

NOTE: A benefit check not payable because of ineligibility or nonentitlement cannot be used to recover an overpayment. However, it may reduce or eliminate the amount subject to recovery if the ineligibility or nonentitlement caused the overpayment.

4. When Efforts To Recover By Refund Stop Efforts Are Stopped

Stop efforts to recover by refund under the following conditions:

  1. The overpayment is nullified through return of an incorrect benefit or a successful appeal; or

  2. The overpayment is fully recovered; or

  3. There is a request for explanation of the overpayment for Title II or a signed request for explanation of the overpayment for Title XVI. When the explanation has been provided, recovery efforts should resume provided none of the other reasons for interrupting recovery exist; or

  4. There is a request for reconsideration of the overpayment for Title II or a signed request for reconsideration for Title XVI. If the overpayment is affirmed on reconsideration, recovery efforts should resume. Any further overpayment appeal (e.g., ALJ hearing request) except in disability benefit continuation cases, is not a reason to interrupt follow-up notices or bills but it does preclude any personal contact to obtain the refund; or

  5. There is a waiver request for a Title II overpayment, or a signed waiver request for Title XVI overpayment. If waiver is denied following a personal conference or after the personal conference is declined, recovery efforts should resume. An appeal (e.g., ALJ hearing request) of the waiver denial is not a reason to interrupt follow-up notices or bills but does preclude any personal contact to obtain the refund; or

  6. Adjustment becomes available against the overpaid person (i.e., entitlement/eligibility is reestablished or the overpaid person is subject to cross-program recovery (see SI 02220.020), or, if timely installments are not involved, against another person in the same household; or

  7. Recovery is resolved through compromise settlement; or

  8. Notice of bankruptcy proceedings is received or the bankruptcy court discharges the overpayment. If the bankruptcy court does not discharge the debt, recovery efforts should resume; or

  9. Continued collection efforts are not warranted (GN 02215.235); or

  10. The overpayment is referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for civil suit (GN 02215.150), or the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for fraud investigation (GN 04101.010); or

  11. There is nonreceipt allegation and the criteria for handling the case in accordance with GN 02406.000 ff. are met.

    NOTE: The form FMS-1133 must be submitted to Treasury for a forgery determination regardless of the amount of the check when processing a nonreceipt claim where both checks are cashed--Duplicate Check Negotiation (DCN)-- but the claimant insists that he/she did not cash both checks (i.e., alleges f