BANKRUPTCY COURT TO HEAR SSA OVERPAYMENT CASE
BANKRUPTCY COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO HEAR OVERPAYMENT CASE
Overpayment cases are not normally heard by any judges outside of the Social Security Administration. However, the 5th Circuit, in Benjamin v. United States of America, (5th Circuit 07/26/2019), has ruled that the Bankruptcy Court has jurisdiction to hear a representative payee’s overpayment case.
Benjamin, the plaintiff was the representative payee of his sister’s monthly disability benefits. His sister returned to work and the SSA, in September 2013, determined she was no longer entitled to disability benefits beginning April 2012.
This left an overpayment of $19, 286, which the SSA stated Benjamin and his sister owed to the SSA. Benjamin reached an agreement with the SSA to withhold $536 a month from him to repay the money.
ADDITIONAL FACTS IN OVERPAYMENT CASE
In this fashion, the SSA recovered $6,000 from Benjamin until September 2015, when, without explanation, the SSA stopped collecting the overpayment money. Then, in July 2016, the SSA denied Benjamin’s request for a waiver of the overpayment. He asked for a personal conference with the SSA and the SSA ruled against him. He awaits a hearing.
Meanwhile, the SSA resumed collecting $536 a month from Benjamin. The burden soon became too much: In May 2017, Benjamin filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He then filed an adversarial proceeding against the SSA in bankruptcy court.
Benjamin alleged the SSA collected $6,000 from him illegally and in violation of its own regulations. He demanded repayment in full. Also, he demanded the return of the $536 collected from him in May due to the collection’s proximity to his bankruptcy filing.
1. SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
The SSA moved to dismiss Benjamin’s claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, claiming Benjamin had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies through the appeal process.
The SSA also argued Benjamin’s claims should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6). The bankruptcy court granted the SSA’s motion to dismiss for “the reasons stated in the [m]otion.” Benjamin appealed to the district court, which affirmed on jurisdictional grounds.
2. DID THE SSA COMPLY WITH THEIR OWN REGULATIONS?
Then Benjamin appealed to the 5th Circuit, who stated that the bankruptcy court should examine Benjamin’s claims and determine whether they are primarily about his entitlement to benefits—that is, a payment of money because he (or his sister) is disabled—or claim for money because the SSA failed to comply with its own regulations in recouping the overpayment.
The 5th Circuit further explains that if Benjamin’s claims show the SSA did not comply with its own regulations, then the bankruptcy court has jurisdiction under §1334 to hear Benjamin’s claims. This case is without precedent. The SSA gives discretion to claims examiners in processing overpayment claims. That discretion results in thousands of overpayment cases against claimant’s which contain errors.
3. OVERPAYMENT CASE RECOVERY RULES
There are many rules regarding overpayment recovery and payment. It is important to appeal within the timeframe the SSA gives on their notice and also file a waiver of overpayment.
Because the 5th Circuit allows for examination of the SSA’s process in a bankruptcy proceeding, it will motivate the SSA to follow their own regulations.It will also result in fewer overpayment errors.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS
If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits, you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you apply for disability benefits. Studies show that you are three times more likely to win benefits if you hire an attorney.
In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is call us or contact us. We offer a free consultation over the phone. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.
Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.
The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the attorney fee cap, whatever is less.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF YOUR DISABILITY CLAIM?
The costs of a disability claim for liver cancer is the same for any other disabling condition. If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. But typically those costs are less than $100. Costs are typically obtaining medical records. We try to keep your costs to a minimum.
Once we win your case, the payment of your attorney fee comes from your back benefit. This is unusual, because to hire most lawyers, you have to pay the attorney fee upfront. We don’t work like that.
You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal. We will also try to win your past due disability benefits. Likewise, if you have a prior application to reopen, we will do that too. Call today. See what we can do for you.
Additionally, we represent clients in many states. For example, we have clients in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. We also represent clients in Colorado and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here.
Learn more about Utah disability benefits here. Additionally, we have information about California disability benefits here. No matter where you live, we will answer your questions about liver cancer your disability case. We want to be your disability legal team. If you have questions about benefits, give us a call today.
CANNON DISABILITY’S REPRESENTATIVES
If you want to learn more about the representatives at Cannon Disability Law, then read our About Us page. There you will find more information about our representatives. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. Likewise, she has also won thousands of disability cases.
Dianna Cannon has many years of experience representing disability claimants. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Ms. Cannon also has bar licenses in a number of states. For example, she has a law license in California, Utah, Nevada, and Washington State.
Additionally, Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. Mr. Bunkall has won thousands of disability hearing. He is an expert. Similarly, all of our representatives are experts. You can trust us to help you receive disability benefits.
At Cannon Disability Law, we give our client’s the advice they need so they have the knowledge to help them from ever having an SSA overpayment. SSA’s rules are hard to follow. Especially, in overpayment cases. If you have questions or concerns about your Social Security Disability case, then contact us today.