Social Security to pause collection of tax refunds for outstanding debt

A Social Security Administration practice of collecting Social Security recipients’ tax refunds to recoup outstanding overpayments, many of which are as old as a decade, will cease according to the acting commissioner of the agency.

Social Security recipients and members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives informed the SSA of their complaints that people were being forced to repay the overpayments made by the agency decades ago, often to their parents or to older relatives.

The SSA has been able to identify around 400,000 people who still have existing debts due to old overpayments, with the total amount outstanding to the SSA totaling at $714 million.

The SSA was able to withhold debtors’ tax refunds through a 2008 amendment in the law that allows the agency, through the Treasury, to collect on debts that are more than 10 years old. Previously, there had been a 10-year limit on carrying out the tenets of the program.

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