Justice Returned: Balancing the Scales

When you receive benefits from the Social Security Administration, a small change in income can throw your entire benefit amount in jeopardy – even if it clearly shouldn’t.

Our client is a forty-year-old man working in non-profits, who came to us after the SSA improperly counted a severance payment from a previous employer as income. Under SSA rules these payments should be counted the same as unused vacation or sick days, rather than hours worked.

The SSA however only saw his quarterly earnings and determined he had gone over the Substantial Gainful Activity amount limits for January, February, and March of last year. They demanded repayment of benefits for nearly an entire year – more than $10,000.

He had all of his pay stubs and a letter from his previous employer explaining the situation, and caught the mistake as soon as he could. Despite this, the appeal dragged on even as he lost his part-time job due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Our attorney successfully appealed the decision and hurried the case along by reaching out to the appropriate supervisor. This week the SSA reversed their decision and paid our client his past four months of benefits, turning a $10,000 debt into a nearly $5,000 payment. That’s fifteen thousand reasons to always hold on to your pay stubs.

Justice Update Archives