Sandra*, a 75-year-old senior, noticed an envelope from Social Security in her mail. She was surprised to see that this was a notice of overpayment, stating she had been overpaid $16,000 in social security benefits. Sandra contacted Social Security, which claimed this was because her husband Ralph* had been working and that she never reported that income. Although Sandra was still legally married, she and her husband had been separated and living in separate households for a decade.
Free Civil Legal Assistance
Sandra reached out to Coast to Coast Legal Aid Service of South Florida (CCLA) for free civil legal assistance. Sandra explained her situation to CCLA. Years ago, when Sandra’s ex-husband applied for his retirement benefits, he had asked her to go with him to Social Security to help him. At this moment, Social Security assumed they were married and applied the overpayment and stopped Sandra’s SSI benefits. CCLA attorneys assisted Sandra in communicating with a Social Security representative. Sandra was told she had to provide documents proving that she and her husband were not living together.
Why it Matters
CCLA assisted Sandra in putting together and submitting the documents for Social Security to review. Upon review, Social Security made a favorable decision to waive the entire overpayment amount. The overpayment waiver was signed off, enabling Sandra to reapply for her SSI benefits.
Had Sandra 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 of South Florida, please visit: https://www.coasttocoastlegalaid.org.
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*Names, images, and details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy