Halting Social Security From Clawing Back Overpayments Will Further Hurt its Finances - AMAC & The Motley Fool

Social Security’s finances are in poor shape. That makes it important that the program do what it can to conserve funds and snag all the revenue it can get. One way it’s been trying to go about that is aggressively clawing back benefits as a result of overpayments, which often result as an error on the part of the program. The people who receive more money than they’re entitled to aren’t any the wiser. Thus, going after that money puts many seniors in a dire financial spot. Rep. Mike Carey (R-OH) has called for a congressional hearing on the program’s efforts to recoup overpayments. But Maurie Backman argues lawmakers really need to step up and focus on not just the program’s practice of recouping its money, but a long-term solution to Social Security’s financial woes. Full article here.

As an example of the leading thoughts on reforming Social Security, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC, Inc.) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized.  This can be achieved without tax increases by slight modifications to cost of living adjustments and payments to high income beneficiaries plus gradually increasing the full (but not early) retirement age.  AMAC Action, AMAC’s advocacy arm, supports an increase in the threshold where benefits are taxed and then indexing for inflation, and calls for eliminating the reduction in people’s benefits for those choosing to work before full retirement age.  AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved for current and successive generations and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in D.C., meeting with many congressional offices and staff over the past decade. 

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Comments On This Topic

  1. In the Sept./Oct. issue of ask Rusty, looks like the widow should have gotten the benefits for 30 days. Example, if I work for company ABC for 30 days and go home on the 30th and have a heart attack and die. The company will have to pay me for the 30 days worked that month. If the grieving widows husband lived for 30 days in December then she should have gotten benefits for the days he lived in December, he had earned those benefits, right ? Looks like the wording needs to be changed so hard working Americans will get from the Goverment what they have earned and paid in to the system. I understand the system is going broke but hard working Americans need to get the benefits they paid in to and earned. FIX THE SYSTEM. Example: If he got $2000 per month, lived for 30 days in December, he should have gotten $1935.48 for December. The goverment always takes advantage of the hard working people.

    • Michael:

      Thanks for the comments. Your point is understood but, unfortunately, the current rules in place governing payments to beneficiaries dictate that the beneficiary must be alive the entire month to be eligible for that month’s benefit payment. When a beneficiary dies, eligibility for the month of death ends because they did not live the entire month. As we said, it’s an unfortunate provision in the current SSA rule book.

      As you may be aware, and as the article you referred to points out, Social Security is operating at a deficit and is on a path to insolvency in less than a decade. We remain optimistic that the program will be modified in time to ward off this catastrophe, and AMAC is engaged in this process extensively. We will note your comments on this specific issue and factor them into our discussions on modernizing Social Security.

      If you have any questions about AMAC’s recommended approach to addressing the Social Security insolvency issue, please contact our colleagues at AMAC Action (www.AmacAction.org).

      Thanks again for contacting us.

      Gerry Hafer, Social Security Advisor
      AMAC Foundation, Inc.
      CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The contents of this message, including any attachments, are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the person or entity to whom the message was addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please be advised that any dissemination, distribution, forwarding, printing, copying, or use of the contents of this message, and any attached documentation, is strictly prohibited. If you received this message in error, please notify the sender. Please also permanently delete all copies of the original message and any attached documentation. The opinions and interpretations expressed in this message are the viewpoints of the message’s author, a trained advisor accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). The author, the NSSA, and the AMAC Foundation are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government.

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