Your tax refund is safe from Social Security -- for now
Social Security has stopped trying to settle debts that are more than 10 years old by seizing tax refunds.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
The Social Security Administration is backing off the controversial practice of seizing tax refunds to collect on decades-old debt.
Acting Social Security commissioner Carolyn Colvin issued the following statement Monday:
I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law.
Colvin added, "If any Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment under this program, I encourage them to request an explanation or seek options to resolve the overpayment."
It's a big deal, reports The Washington Post, which broke the story about the program's irregularities. The Post said:
The action comes after The Washington Post reported that the government was seizing state and federal tax refunds that were on their way to about 400,000 Americans who had relatives who owed money to the Social Security agency. In many cases, the people whose refunds were intercepted had never heard of any debt, and the debts dated as far back as the middle of the past century.
Last week we shared the Post's story about Maryland resident Mary Grice, who had her tax refunds snatched this year to settle an overpayment of Social Security survivor benefits that someone (Social Security couldn't say who) in Grice's family received in 1977. Her father died in 1960, when Grice was 4 years old, and she, along with her siblings and her father's first wife, received survivor benefits after that.
Even though the overpayment was decades old and Grice was no longer getting survivor benefits when the overpayment was made, she was held liable to pay. She sued, the Post said.
According to the Post, the practice of collecting decades-old debts came about after a single line in the 2008 Farm Bill did away with a 10-year statute of limitations.
Now it appears that your tax refunds are safe from seizure, at least for the moment. We'll see what happens after the Social Security Administration completes its review.
But apparently this program hasn't been working the way it's supposed to. Says The Associated Press:
"We want to assure the public that we do not seek restitution through tax refund offset in cases when the debt in question was established prior to the debtor turning 18 years of age," Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle said in an email. "Also, we do not use tax refund offset to collect the debt of a person's relative -- we only use it to collect the overpaid benefits the person received for himself or herself."
What do you think about Social Security's backpedaling on collecting old debts?
More from Money Talks News
The legal statue of limitations to get back money overpaid or money owed is 6 years for people and business in the US. Why does the government get 10 years. They started out saying 40 years, now they say 10 years and everyone thinks "ohh, that's fair". No it isn't. They are going after the children making them work (pay money) off the debt of their parents that was incurred when the child was an infant goes back to feudal rule and plantations! Contract law and courts require a signature, all the IRS requires is the suspicion
IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD REPAY SOCIAL SECURITY ALL THE MONEY THEY HAVE
ILLEGALLY TAKEN FROM THE FUND THEN THEY COULD TALK ABOUT COLLECTING THE
OVERPAYMENTS MADE TO PEOPLE. IT IS STUPID TO EXPECT RELATIVES TO PAY FOR
OTHER PEOPLE'S BILLS. ONLY A SPOUSE OR CHILD WHO HAS RECEIVED PROCEEDS
NOT DUE SHOULD EVEN BE CONTACTED.
There has to be a statue of limitations on this just like everything else. If the person is still living that received the money....collect it,. Otherwise go after the estate NOT children who were underaged at the time.
Is there any common sense left in this country????? Food stamp, welfare and Disability fraud is rampant in this country....why go after decades old Social Security overpayments??
Your big brother continues to stick it up your backside knowing that all you can do as an individual is say, "Thank you, Dear Mayor, may I have another?"
Welcome to Obamaville. mmm, mmm, mmm. What will the working poor do when our Dear Mayor shorts them yet another stamp in the weekly food allotment booklet?
Translation: The Democratic Party is clawing for ways to steal your tax refund to fund the lazy, entitled, and illegal's.
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