§ 404.502. Overpayments.

Upon determination that an overpayment has been made, adjustments will be made against monthly benefits and lump sums as follows:

(a) Individual overpaid is living. (1) If the individual to whom an overpayment was made is at the time of a determination of such overpayment entitled to a monthly benefit or a lump sum under title II of the Act, or at any time thereafter becomes so entitled, no benefit for any month and no lump sum is payable to such individual, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, until an amount equal to the amount of the overpayment has been withheld or refunded. Such adjustments will be made against any monthly benefit or lump sum under title II of the Act to which such individual is entitled whether payable on the basis of such individual's earnings or the earnings of another individual.

(2) If any other individual is entitled to benefits for any month on the basis of the same earnings as the overpaid individual, except as adjustment is to be effected pursuant to paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section by withholding a part of the monthly benefit of either the overpaid individual or any other individual entitled to benefits on the basis of the same earnings, no benefit for any month will be paid on such earnings to such other individual until an amount equal to the amount of the overpayment has been withheld or refunded.

(3) If a representative payee receives a payment on behalf of a beneficiary after that beneficiary dies, the representative payee or his estate is solely liable for repaying the overpayment. If the representative payee is entitled to a monthly benefit or a lump sum under title II of the Act at the time we determine that an overpayment exists or at any time thereafter, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, we will not pay the monthly benefits or the lump sum to the representative payee until the amount of the overpayment has been repaid. We will make such adjustments against any monthly benefit or lump sum under title II of the Act to which the representative payee is entitled whether payable on the basis of such representative payee's earnings or the earnings of another individual.

(b) Individual overpaid dies before adjustment. If an overpaid individual dies before adjustment is completed under the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, no lump sum and no subsequent monthly benefit will be paid on the basis of earnings which were the basis of the overpayment to such deceased individual until full recovery of the overpayment has been effected, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section or under § 404.515. Such recovery may be effected through:

(1) Payment by the estate of the deceased overpaid individual,

(2) Withholding of amounts due the estate of such individual under title II of the Act,

(3) Withholding a lump sum or monthly benefits due any other individual on the basis of the same earnings which were the basis of the overpayment to the deceased overpaid individual, or

(4) Any combination of the amount above.

(5) The methods in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section for overpayments owed by a representative payee for payments made after the beneficiary's death. We will not recover such overpayments from any person other than the individual who was representative payee or his estate, but we may recover these overpayments from such other person under § 404.503(b).

(c) Adjustment by withholding part of a monthly benefit. (1) Where it is determined that withholding the full amount each month would defeat the purpose of title II, i.e., deprive the person of income required for ordinary and necessary living expenses (see § 404.508), adjustment under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section may be effected by withholding an amount of not less than $10 of the monthly benefit payable to an individual.

(2) Adjustment as provided by this paragraph will not be available if the overpayment was caused by the individual's intentional false statement or representation, or willful concealment of, or deliberate failure to furnish, material information. In such cases, recovery of the overpayment will be accomplished as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.

(d) Individual overpaid enrolled under supplementary insurance plan. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, if the individual liable for the overpayment is an enrollee under part B of title XVIII of the Act and the overpayment was not caused by such individual's intentional false statement or representation, or willful concealment of, or deliberate failure to furnish, material information, an amount of such individual's monthly benefit which is equal to his obligation for supplementary medical insurance premiums will be applied toward payment of such premiums, and the balance of the monthly benefit will be applied toward recovery of the overpayment. Further adjustment with respect to such balance may be made if the enrollee so requests and meets the conditions of paragraph (c) of this section.

[35 FR 5943, Apr. 10, 1970, as amended at 44 FR 20653, Apr. 6, 1979; 73 FR 65542, Nov. 4, 2008]