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Story of Justice: Prudence gets an overpayment notice from Social Security

Prudence gets an overpayment notice from Social Security

Background

*Prudence, a 75-year-old senior, went to pick up the mail in the morning when she noticed an envelope from Social Security. When she opened the envelope, she was surprised to see that this was actually a notice informing her that she had been overpaid $7000 in social security benefits. Prudence lived within extremely limited means and did not have money to pay this debt. Unknowingly, Prudence had started accruing this overpayment since she started collecting her mother’s benefits for her children after her husband died decades ago.

Legal Assistance

Prudence reached out to Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida for free legal assistance. She felt that the overpayment accruing without her knowledge was unfair. Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida filed an appeal which unfortunately was denied, and in response followed to request a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge. After the initial appeal was denied, Prudence entered into a repayment agreement to prevent all of her benefits from being withheld.

Why it Matters

Since it took two years for the hearing to be scheduled, the overpayment had actually been already paid off prior to the hearing. At the hearing, Prudence received a fully favorable decision and recovered all of the money that was withheld from her to repay the overpayment claim. 

Had Prudence not been able to access free legal assistance from Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida, she might have had to bear this process and debt by herself. For more information about Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida, please visit: https://www.coasttocoastlegalaid.org

*Names and images have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients

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