BASIC (02-89)

SI 02205.005 Sponsor Questions Responsibility for SSI Overpayment

A. Policy principles

A sponsor is “jointly and severally liable” with the alien for the repayment of any SSI overpayment made to the alien (during the 3-year period after his/ her entry to the United Sates) that resulted from the sponsor's failure to provide correct information regarding his/her own income and resources and the income and resources of his/her living with spouse, if any.

However, if the failure to report was not willful, make a without fault finding relieving the sponsor of the responsibility to repay the overpayment.

B. Operating policy

A subsequent overpayment to the alien because of the sponsor's failure to provide correct information would raise serious doubt regarding the sponsor's good faith and intent. Unless extenuating circumstances have prohibited the sponsor from complying with his obligation to supply information, do not relieve the sponsor of his/her responsibility to repay the overpayment.

C. Operating procedures

Whenever a sponsor questions his/her responsibility for repayment, obtain a statement regarding his/her reason(s) for not providing the correct or necessary information on an SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or Other Person).

  1. Good cause exists if the reasons for not reporting show that the failure was not a willful failure. Consider the following factors in making this determination.

    • The instructions the sponsor received from SSA and INS regarding the effect his/her income and resources have on an alien's SSI payment. (Reminder: Beginning approximately August 1980, INS provided instructions to the sponsor at the time of the alien's application for admission to the United States (see SI 01320.900);

    • The sponsor's understanding of those instructions;

    • The sponsor's comprehension level;

    • The sponsor's ability to comply with the obligation; and

    • Any untoward circumstances hindering compliance.

  2. If you establish willful failure, fraud development may be necessary (SI 04070.020).

  3. A finding of willful failure means that you cannot approve waiver of recovery since the sponsor is at fault in connection with the overpayment. Development of the other conditions for waiver (e.g., defeat the purpose) is not necessary.

  4. For a determination that “good cause” does exist,documentthe determination on an RC, and notify  the sponsor of the determination using an SSA-L8166-U2. Use the language in D.1. below.

  5. For a determination to attach liability and to deny good cause with respect to the sponsor, document the determination on an RC, and notifythe sponsor of the determination using a blank page with the appeals rights given on the SSA-L8174. (The SSA-L8174 is not appropriate since waiver rights do not apply.) Use the language in D.2. below and see complete sample notice in E.1. below.

    Explain the reason for denial, with the rationale used to determine that good cause for failing to provide information did not exist.

  6. Retain the RC, SSA-795, and a copy of the notice in the file.

D. Exhibits

1. Exhibit 1 - notice language to use when good cause is found

“We are writing to you about (name of alien's) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. We already told you that we paid (him/her) (money amount) too much SSI money. You asked that we not make you pay this overpayment back. We looked at the information you gave us, and we decided that you do not have to pay this money back.”

2. Exhibit 2 - notice language to use when good cause is not found

“We are writing to you about (name of alien's) overpayment of (amount of overpayment). You asked that we not make you pay this money back. We decided that you do have to pay back the overpayment.

THE REASON FOR OUR DECISION

We said that you did not have to pay back the overpayment if you had a good reason for (fill in a brief explanation of the overpayment). Based on the facts you gave us (Provide fill-in language explaining the decision.)”

NOTE: See sample notice in E.1. below.

3. Exhibit 3 - notice language informing a sponsor of his/her liability of an alien’s overpayment

“(Name of alien) is an alien you sponsored for admission to the United States and agreed to support. He was overpaid because (fill in a brief explanation of the overpayment). Therefore, you must pay back the overpayment, or we must withhold it from any future Social Security or SSI benefits that you may receive.

You may not have to pay us back if you had a good reason for not telling us about (fill in a brief explanation of the sponsor's role in causing the overpayment). If you think that you had a good reason, let us know. You will not have to pay us back while we are deciding your case.”

E. Examples

  1. Sample Notice When Good Cause Not Found

  2. Sample Notice for Liable Sponsor

                                    Example 1

 

Social Security Administration

Supplemental Security Income

Notice of Overpayment

 

                        Date: August 24, 1988

                        Claim Number: XXX-XX-XXXX

Name
Street Address
City/State/Zip Code

 

We are writing to you about James Smith's overpayment of $125.00. You asked that we not make you pay this money back. We decided that you do have to pay back the overpayment.

THE REASON FOR OUR DECISION

We said that you did not have to pay back the overpayment if you had a good reason for not reporting the increase in your earnings. Base on the facts you gave us, we decided not a good reason. This is because we told you that you must report any changes in your earnings.

DO YOU THINK WE ARE WRONG?

If you think we are wrong, you have the right to appeal. We will correct mistakes. We will look at any new facts you have.

  • You have 60 days to ask for an appeal.

  • The 60 days start the day after you get this letter.

  • You will have to have a good reason for waiting more than 60 days to ask for an appeal.

  • To appeal, you must fill out a form call “Request for Reconsideration.” The form number is SSA-561. To get this form, contact, contact one of our offices. We can help you fill out form.

HOW TO APPEAL

There are three ways to appeal. You can pick the one you want. If you meet with us in person, it may help us decide your case .

                                 Example 1(cont.)

                                 xxx-xx-xxxx

08/24/88                               Page 2

 

  • Case Review . You have a right to review the facts in your file. You can give us more facts to add to your file. Then we will decide your case again. You will not meet with the person who decides your case.

  • Informal Conference . You will meet with the person who decides your case. You can tell that person why you think you are right. You can give us more facts to help prove your are right. You can bring other people to help explain your case.

  • Formal Conference . This is a meeting like an information conference. The difference is we can make people come to help prove you are right. We can make them bring important papers about your case, even if they do not want to help you. You can question these people at your meeting.

     

IF YOU WANT HELP WITH YOUR APPEAL

You may want help from a friend, lawyer or someone else. There are groups that can find you a lawyer. Some can give you a free lawyer. We can give you the means of these groups.

 

HOW TO PAY US BACK

There are two ways you can pay us back.

  • You can send us a check or money order for the full amount of the overpayment of $125.00. Make your check or money order out to the Social Security Administration. Be sure to put James Smith's Social Security on it. Please use the enclosed envelope to mail the check or money order to us. Also, be sure to enclose the payment stub with your check or money order.

    OR

  • If you cannot send us the full amount now, send as much as you can. Then contact any Social office. You can pay the rest of the money you owe by making monthly payments.

If you cannot pay us in full, please contact us by September 26, 1988. You will need to tell us how you plan to pay us back.

                                Example 1(cont.)

                                xxx-xx-xxxx

08/24/88                              Page 3

 

If you do not pay back this money, we must withhold it from any future Social Security or SSI benefits that you may receive.

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS

If you have any questions, you may call, write or visit any Social Security office. If you call or visit our office, please have this letter with you and ask for Mr. Carl Jones. The telephone number is (111) 111-1111.

Also, if you plan to visit an office, you may call ahead to make a appointment. This will help us serve you more quickly when you arrive at the office.

                     Name

                     District/Branch Manager

 

Enclosures:

— Detailed Explanation of Overpayment
— Payment Stub
— Refund Envelope

                                     Example 2

 

Social Security Administration

Supplemental Security Income

Notice of Overpayment

 

 

                           Date: January 12, 1989

                           Claim Number: XXX-XX-XXXX

 

Name
Street Address
City/State/Zip

 

We are writing to let you know that we have paid James Smith $125.00 too much Supplemental Security Income (SSI) money. The overpayment happened from October 1987 through November 1987.

James Smith is an alien you sponsored to admission to the United States and agree to support. He was overpaid because you did not report your earnings. Therefore, you must pay back the overpayment, or we must withhold it from any future Social Security or SSI benefits that you may receive.

Later in this letter, we will give you a detailed explanation of the overpayment.

You must pay us back unless we are wrong about he overpayment or we decide you should not have to pay us back. This letter tells you what you can do if you thing we are wrong about the overpayment, or if you think you should not have to pay us back.

 

IF YOU THINK YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY US BACK

You may not have to pay us back if you had a good reason for not telling us about your earnings. If you think that you had a good reason, let us know. You will not have to pay us back while we are deciding your case.

 

DO YOU THINK WE ARE WRONG?

If you think we are wrong, you have the right to appeal. We will correct mistakes. We will look at any new facts you have.

  • You have 60 days to ask for an appeal.

  • The 60 days start the day after you get this letter.

  • You will have to have a good reason for waiting more than 60 days to ask for an appeal.

                                Example 2(cont.)

 

                                 xxx-xx-xxxx

01/12/89                              Page 2

 

  • To appeal, you must fill out a form call “Request for Reconsideration.” The form number is SSA-561. To this form, contact one of our offices. We can help you fill out the form.

     

HOW TO APPEAL

There are three ways to appeal. You can pick the one you want. If you must with us in person, it may help us decide your case .

  • Case Review . You have a right to review the facts in your file. You can give us more facts to add to your file. Then we will decide your case again. Yo will not meet with the person who decides your case.

  • Informal Conference . You will meet with the person who decides your case. You can tell that person why you think you are right. You can give us more facts to help prove your are right. You can bring other people to help explain your case.

  • Formal Conference . This is a meeting like an information conference. The difference is we can make people come to help prove you are right. We can make them bring important papers about your case, even if they do not want to help you. You can questions these people at your meeting.

     

IF YOU WANT HELP WITH YOUR APPEAL

You may want help from a friend, lawyer or someone else. There are groups that can find you a lawyer. Some can give you a free lawyer. We can give you the names of these groups.

 

HOW TO PAY US BACK

There are two ways you can pay us back.

  • You can send us a check or money order for the full amount of the overpayment of $125.00 Make your check or money order out to the Social Security Administration. Be sure to put James Smith's Social Security number on it. Please use enclosed envelope to mail the check or money order to us. Also, be sure to enclose the payment stub with your check or money order.

                                 Example 2(cont.)

 

                                 xxx-xx-xxxx

01/12/89                               Page 3

 

OR

  • If you cannot send us the full amount now, send as much as you can. Then contact any Social Security office. You can pay the rest of the money you owe by making monthly payments.

If you cannot pay us in full, please contact us by February 13, 1989. You will need to tell us how you plan to pay us back.

If you do not pay back this money, we must withhold it from any future Social Security or SSI benefits that you may receive.

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS

If you have any questions, you may call, write or visit any Social Security office. If you call or visit our office, please have this letter with you and ask for Mr. Carl Jones. The telephone number is (111) 111-1111.

Also, if you plan to visit an office, you may call ahead to make an appointment. This will help us serve you more quickly when you arrive at the office.

 

                           Name

                           District/Branch Manager

 

Enclosures:
 
—Detailed Explanation of Overpayment
—Payment Stub
—Refund Envelope


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0502205005
SI 02205.005 - Sponsor Questions Responsibility for SSI Overpayment - 02/25/2013
Batch run: 02/25/2013
Rev:02/25/2013