BASIC (08-06)

VB 02005.110 Liability for SVB Overpayments

A. Introduction

Liability in SVB overpayment situations refers to responsibility for repayment of an identified SVB overpayment. Liability is part of an overpayment initial determination and is subject to appeal. Generally two factors determine overpayment liability:

  • Is the SVB recipient alive or deceased?

  • Did (or does) the SVB recipient have a representative payee?

B. Policy – SVB Beneficiary Alive

1. Representative Payee Not Involved

Only the beneficiary is liable for the overpayment.

2. Representative Payee Involved

Determine who is liable:

  • Only the beneficiary is liable when the overpaid funds were used for his/her support and maintenance and the representative payee was unaware of the facts causing the overpayment.

  • Only the representative payee is liable when the overpaid funds were not used for the beneficiary’s support and maintenance and the representative payee was aware of the facts causing the overpayment.

  • Both the beneficiary and representative payee are liable when the overpaid funds were used for the beneficiary’s support and maintenance and the representative payee was aware of the facts causing the overpayment.

NOTE: Apply the accounting for benefits procedure in VB 00501.036D. to determine if the overpaid SVB was used for the beneficiary’s support and maintenance.

IMPORTANT: Unless the beneficiary is legally incompetent, for overpayment notification purposes, SSA presumes that both the beneficiary and representative payee are liable as either party can appeal a liability determination. With legally incompetent beneficiaries, SSA presumes for notification purposes that both the representative payee and the legal guardian (if other than the representative payee) are liable.

C. Policy – SVB Beneficiary Deceased

1. Representative Payee Not Involved

The deceased beneficiary’s estate is liable for the SVB overpayment.

‘Defeat the purpose’ and ‘against equity and good conscience’ concepts as shown in SI 02260.020 through SI 02260.025, GN 02250.115 and GN 02250.150 may be applied to recovery from an estate as appropriate:

  • Recovery from the deceased’s estate can occur through full refund, by installment payments or through Tax Refund Offset. See VB 02005.120A.

  • Recovery from an estate will be explored if the overpayment cannot be recovered in full from any underpayment due on behalf of the deceased.

  • Generally, the CPS/FO having SVB jurisdiction will determine if collection from an estate must be considered.

  • If the deceased’s estate is outside the United States, CPS/FO personnel will follow instructions in GN 02215.015B.2. for requesting State Department (in this case, FSP) assistance in determining the existence of an estate and in recovering the overpayment from the estate. See GN 00905.352B.1.

  • If the deceased’s estate is in the United States, the CPS/FO will develop in accordance with GN 02215.050C. However, do not route development to a PC. Instead, take action as directed and retain development in the SVB file, in the CPS/FO.

    NOTE: In this case, references to the PC in GN 02215.050 and in related sections GN 02215.055 through GN 02215.070 will be taken to refer to the CPS/FO. Where there is a delay in estate settlement or an administrator has not yet been appointed, establish a 12-month RT diary for ‘estate development’ on the SSR using the instructions in SI 02305.022A.6. and in SM 01301.230A.3.

2. Representative Payee Involved

If both the deceased beneficiary and his/her representative payee are liable (as defined in VB 02005.110B.2.), attempt recovery from the representative payee prior to attempting recovery from the deceased’s estate. Attempt recovery only from the representative payee if it is determined that he/she negotiated an SVB check that was certified after th