Social Security reviewing overpayment policies, procedures following Channel 2 investigation

ATLANTA — The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that it is reviewing its overpayment procedures and policies following a Channel 2 Action News investigation that showed people here in Georgia and across the US who received disability payments were getting letters out of nowhere from the federal government demanding thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

The letters were from the Social Security Administration trying to get back billions of dollars it says it should not have ever paid.

On Wednesday, the acting Commissioner of Social Security said she is putting together a team to review how the Social Security Administration handles overpayments.

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This comes directly after a Channel 2 Action News investigation into the overpayments last month and the furor our reporting created among lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week.

Matt and Kristen Cooper told Channel 2 investigative report Justin Gray last month how Social Security is 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, Channel 2 Action News, the Kaiser Family Foundation Health News, and our sister stations across the country have heard from families -- nearly 200 people and counting -- reaching out and all saying, “It happened to me too.”


Now, after we exposed the problems, the Social Security Administration is taking action.

The acting Commissioner of Social Security said in a new press release Wednesday, that “despite our high accuracy rates, I am putting together a team to review our overpayment policies and procedures to further improve how we serve our customers.”

In our investigation, we told you 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.

Just last week, we took our reporting to a group of lawmakers in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats.

Now, SSA leadership said they will review their policies on these overpayments.

“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.

If you would like to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration, click here.