A debtor may, at any time, request a lower offset amount or percentage alleging financial
IMPORTANT: SSA will not reduce the amount offset if the debt was caused by intentional false
statement or willful concealment of or failure to furnish material information. (Willful
concealment means an intentional, knowing and purposeful delay in providing or failure
to furnish material information.) Do not take action on a request for a lower offset
amount due to hardship when the debt was caused by intentional false statement or
willful concealment of or failure to furnish material information.
The procedure for handling a debtor’s request for a lower offset amount depends upon
whether SSA can approve the request immediately or SSA requires financial information
from the debtor before deciding on the request.
NOTE: A request for hardship does not prevent or stop TOP/ECO or credit bureau reporting.
Grant, without financial development, any request that is at least $50 and would permit
recovery within 12 months. Document the Debt Management System (DMS) REMARKS screen.
If a negotiated/requested amount is at least $50 and would permit full recovery within
36 months, grant the request and annotate the DMS REMARKS screen with the income/expense/asset
information obtained from the debtor. DO NOT OBTAIN AN SSA-632-BK OR REQUEST A DETAILED
FINANCIAL STATEMENT (i.e., the information requested in Section II on the SSA-632-BK).
The debtor’s response to the following questions is sufficient:
What is the amount of your income (i.e., weekly or monthly)?
How much are your average monthly expenses (e.g., rent/mortgage, utilities, etc.)?
Do you have a savings account, CD, or IRA? If so, the approximate value of each.
If a negotiated/requested amount would not permit recovery within 36 months, obtain
a signed SSA-632-BK and evaluate income, expenses and assets. Continue the current
withholding rate until the SSA-632-BK is received and processed. Withhold the amount
by which income exceeds expenses but no less than $50. Annotate the DMS REMARKS screen.
When the offset amount is finally negotiated, send a FAX on SSA letterhead requesting
a reduction due to hardship to the Branch Manager for Operations at Bureau of the
Fiscal Service (BFS), formerly known as the Financial Management Service (FMS) (FAX
number 202-874-6474). If no confirmation is received within 5 workdays, call SSA’s
Customer Liaison at BFS (phone number 202-874-7182) for status.
If SSA disagrees with the proposed offset amount, send a notice denying the request.
Since the decision as to the amount of offset is an administrative action, not an
initial determination, there are no appeal or reconsideration rights available.
NOTE: There could be a time lag between our decision to reduce the offset amount and the
implementation of the reduced amount. The effective date of the different rate of
offset will be the date BFS effectuates the change. No previously offset benefits
should be repaid as a result of a subsequently reduced offset amount.