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Couple told they owe $81,000 after Social Security overpayment

The Social Security Administration says the overpayments happened over the course of four years.
Couple told they owe $81,000 after Social Security overpayment
Posted at 3:58 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 17:58:53-05

Kat Conner and Jim Lehfeldt of Palm Beach Gardens recently received a life-changing letter from the Social Security Administration.

"Basically what it says is that they overpaid me a little bit over $81,000," Conner said.

The Social Security Administration says the overpayments happened over the course of four years. The agency informed the couple that their monthly disability payments will be on hold, along with their retirement benefits, until the money is paid back.

"First, we tried calling Social Security. That was a nightmare — just on hold and you get passed and passed and passed," Conner said. "Then, we went to Social Security on Clematis (Street) and spoke with somebody [who] said, basically, he didn't have access to all of our records."

Conner said she then decided to deplete one of her retirement accounts to start repaying the money. 

Conner and Lehfeldt are not the first couple to be stuck with a large payment to the Social Security Administration. Scripps News West Palm Beach shared the story of Gloria and Antonio Castro earlier this month. 

"Social Security is claiming that we have an overpayment of $36,092.80 and that they want their money back," Gloria said. "And then we got another letter on Nov. 3 claiming that he owes $34,830.80."

When the SSA started withholding their checks, the Castros contacted their congressman, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., and his office was able to help get their payments resumed.

However, they are still waiting to hear if they still owe the money that was overpaid.

Conner told Scripps News West Palm Beach that they have also reached out to Mast's office for help. 

In a recent statement to NBC News, the agency said these types of issues are often due to errors in their system. It's reportedly working on making improvements to prevent overpayments.

"It's their error, not our error, and we feel like, you know, it's wrong," Lehfeldt said.

This story was originally published by Jessica Bruno at Scripps News West Palm Beach

SEE MORE: Millions of Social Security recipients may have to return overpayments


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