Skip to main content

Stressed out man with calculator, papers.
Last week, the Washington Post had the story about how Treasury and Social Security had suddenly started going after old overpayments, sometimes decades-old, by garnishing the tax refunds of family members who didn't even receive the overpayments. Turns out, the Farm Bill of 2008 had a provision slipped in—so far how it got slipped in hasn't been revealed—that ended the 10 year statute of limitations on collecting debts. Treasury and the Social Security Administration have stepped up that collection in the past three years, but after the Post story, Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and recipients raised hell with the agency. Now, Social Security has announced it will be suspending the practice.
Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said Monday she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review. […]

The Social Security Administration says it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million.

So far, the agency says it has collected $55 million. […]

Colvin said she was suspending the program "pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department."

The overpayments could be the result of disability payments or survivor benefits, overpayments that the people who were being collected from had no idea about. It was a ridiculous policy for a piddly—in the grand scheme of things—amount of money, and good riddance to it. Congress needs to revisit that debt collection policy, and if it's worried about revenue for Social Security do something that will really raise some money, like raise the payroll tax cap.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 09:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site