Am I required to pay back an overpayment to the Social Security Administration?

Published: April 1, 2022

Full question: After filing for Social Security at age 63 and receiving 5 payments, I received a letter from Social Security saying I needed to pay the money back because I would make too much. Am I required to pay that money back, if so, why?


If you began collecting before your Full Retirement Age (FRA) and continue to work you may be subject to the “Earnings Test.” This means that there is a limit on the amount you can make while collecting your Social Security benefits.

Yes, you are required to pay them back. Without doing so, you will not receive any more Social Security in the future until it has been paid. By earning over the limit, your benefits are reduced and by collecting early you lose out on the benefit increase each year just to have your benefit completely taken.

You still have time to make different and better claiming decisions moving forward and an RSSA can help you understand your options, educate you on the rules that impact your benefits, and help you pick a plan that best suits your personal circumstances.

Best of luck,

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