January 20, 2020

Are Social Security Overpayments Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

social security demands repaymentBecause I handle both personal bankruptcy cases and Social Security disability cases, I frequently get questions about the interrelationship between these two areas of law.   A question I get at least once a month has to do with whether a Social Security disability overpayment is dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The short answer to this is “yes,” a Social Security overpayment is treated like any other unsecured debt.    There are exceptions to the dischargeability of a particular debt under Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code and exceptions to the discharge as a whole under Section 727 of the Code.

Specifically, this means, however, that fraudulent behavior can result in a finding that this Social Security debt is not dischargeable.

Overpayment issues typically arise in disability cases when a claimant continues to accept and receive disability payments even after returning to work.  The question then becomes – “did the debtor/claimant knowingly and with intent to deceive the Social Security Administration continue to accept disability payments even when not entitled to do so?” [Read more…]

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