Congress to hold hearing following Channel 2 investigation into Social Security overpayments

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned that Congress will be holding a hearing to look into the Social Security Administration demanding people pay back money they were overpaid.

The move comes nearly a month after a Channel 2 Action News and Kaiser Family Foundation Health News investigation showed how hundreds of thousands of families are getting demand letters from Social Security to repay benefit overpayments, even when it’s the government who made the mistake.

You are on the hook for the money. Social Security has maintained they are required by federal law to seek repayment.

In a news release from the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, it said that will hold a hearing next week to “better identify improper payments before they occur and provide beneficiaries with adequate notice when they occur.”

Matt and Kristen Cooper, who live in Covington, told Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray that they got a letter from SSA demanding they repay $30,000 in overpayments.

SSA also said it is cutting their children’s monthly payments from about $900 dollars to just $150 because of a government calculation error after Matt Cooper was shot in the head on duty as a Covington police officer.

“It just feels like we’ve been failed,” Kristen Cooper said.


Since the Coopers told their story, we have heard from families -- nearly 200 people and counting -- reaching out and all saying, “It happened to me too.”

Last week, SSA said it would be reviewing its overpayment procedures and policies.

“The system has definitely let us down,” Kristen Cooper said.

The acting commissioner said a top leader reporting directly to her will lead this team reviewing overpayments.

She also points out in her news release that families can request a waiver and that current law allows SSA in some cases to waive repaying these overpayments.

The Coopers said they were applying for a waiver.

The hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. So far, they have not released a list of witnesses expected to testify.