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What is the definition of "against equity and good conscience"?

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

1919. What is the definition of "against equity and good conscience"?

"Against equity and good conscience" can be established regardless of your financial ability to repay or possession of any part of the overpayment when you:

  1. Changed your position for the worse or neglected a valuable right because of your reliance upon a notice that a payment would be made or because of the overpayment itself (e.g., a beneficiary, relying on benefit payments, signed a lease on a more expensive apartment or retired from a job and cannot get it back);

  2. Were living in a separate household from the overpaid person at the time of the overpayment and did not receive the overpayment (RSDI overpayments only); or

  3. Where a member of an eligible couple legally separated or living apart and did not receive the overpayment (SSI overpayments only).

In these cases, waiver would be granted and you do not need to repay the overpayment debt.

Last Revised: March, 2001


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