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Published: Nov 06, 2023 6 min read
Multiple hands pulling a single dollar bill and stretching it, with a social security card in the background
Money; Getty Images

The federal agency that administers Social Security benefits is making new efforts to reclaim overpayments, and it may try to claw back money if you’ve been receiving too much.

About 1 million people per year received overpayment notices from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years, Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the SSA, said in recent testimony to Congresss. The agency began a "top-to-bottom" review of overpayment issues last month, Kijakazi said.

Roughly 0.5% of Social Security payments are overpayments, according to the agency. Overpayments can either be the government’s fault or the result of a mistake by the beneficiary. Either way, the result is that beneficiaries owe money back to the government.

A new 60 Minutes report found that some overpaid Social Security recipients have been told they need to pay back tens of thousands of dollars. For example, a 73-year-old woman told the program she was notified that she owed $72,000 in overpayments because her benefits were based on incorrect salary information.

Government to track down Social Security overpayments