SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1918. Defeat the Purpose as a Factor in Waiver

1918.1 When does recovery of an overpayment in the RSDI programs defeat the purpose of the program?

Recovery of an overpayment of the RSDI programs defeats the purpose of the program if:

  1. You need substantially all of your income (including Social Security benefits) to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses;

  2. Refund or adjustment of benefits would reduce your total assets to:

    1. Below $3,000, if you have no dependents; or

    2. Below $5,000, you have one dependent. For each subsequent dependent, beginning with the second, an additional $600 is allowed; and

  3. You receive any type of cash welfare payments (including SSI payments).

1918.2 When does recovery of an overpayment in the SSI program defeat the purpose of the program?

Recovery of an overpayment in the SSI program defeats the purpose of the program if refund or adjustment of benefits would deprive you of income or financial resources needed for ordinary and necessary living expenses.

1918.3 How is ordinary and necessary living expenses defined?

An individual currently receiving SSI payments is considered to have met the financial requirement if your total income:

  1. Does not exceed the applicable Federal Benefit Rate (see §2113(A)); plus

  2. Any State supplement (see §2106); plus

  3. The applicable monthly income disregard (i.e., $20 for a non-working recipient or $20 plus $65 for a working recipient).

Note: Regardless of a person's financial situation, recovery cannot defeat the purpose of any program to the extent of incorrect or overpaid funds in the person's possession when he or she is notified of the overpayment. This means that if the $500 in a person's bank account is the $500 payment he should not have received, he is able to repay $500 of the overpayment. Because the person was not due the money that was deposited into the bank account, no harm is suffered by refunding the money to the Agency.

Last Revised: Jun. 22, 2004