Social Security Q&A

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social security benefit
Social Security Direct Express debit card

Q: I received a letter from Social Security that they paid me more than they should have. What should I do now? (X. Miranda, Miramar)  

Answer: If you got a letter in the mail that says you received more money than you should have, please pay us back within 30 days. 

Benefits are overpaid when we can’t accurately calculate your benefit amount because our information is wrong or incomplete. It can happen if you don’t share updates with us about what’s changed in your life, like your ability to work, living situation, marital status, or income. 

Social Security will wait at least 30 days (plus 5 mail days) from the date of the overpayment notice before we start collection of the overpayment. If you submit a request for waiver or reconsideration before 30 days has passed, we will not begin collection of the overpayment until a decision is made on your request.  

If you’d like to request to repay us in smaller monthly payments, please fill out the Request for Change in Overpayment Recovery Rate (Form SSA-634) and fax or mail the form to your local Social Security office. 

If you can’t afford to pay us back, and if you feel the error wasn’t your fault or is unfair for some other reason, ask us to waive repayment. 

If you don’t agree that you’ve been overpaid, or you believe the overpayment amount is incorrect, you can request a reconsideration. We call this an appeal.

Related: Social Security, Medicare & Retirement Age 

Question: I would like to have my benefits deposited to the Direct Express debit card. How can I do that? (A. Polo, Delray Beach)  

Answer: The Direct Express® card is a debit card you can use to access your benefits and you don’t need a bank account. 

With the Direct Express® card program, your federal benefit payment direct deposits into your card account. Your monthly benefits will be available on your payment day—on time, every time. You can use the card to make purchases, pay bills or get cash at thousands of locations. 

It’s quick and easy to sign up for the card. Call the toll-free Direct Express® hotline at 1-800-333-1795.