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Past Debts of Beneficiaries

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

1619. Past Debts of Beneficiaries

1619.1 Can funds be seized by creditors?

In order to assure an income for a beneficiary's current needs, Section 207 of the Social Security Act specifically exempts funds from seizure by creditors. However, there are some exceptions.

1619.2 What are the exceptions?

Funds may be garnished for the legal enforcement of providing child support and alimony as permitted under section 459 of the Social Security Act, and the IRS may levy for taxes owed. In addition, SSA may seek refund of a Social Security or SSI overpayment.

1619.3 Should representative payees use funds to cover bills incurred before the payee began receiving the payments?

A representative payee is not required to use funds to pay bills incurred by a beneficiary before the first month that payments began being paid to the representative payee. However, a representative payee may do so if the beneficiary's current and reasonably foreseeable needs are met.

1619.4 What if the beneficiary owes a debt to the representative payee?

If the debt is owed to the representative payee, approval must be obtained from SSA prior to using funds for self-reimbursement.

1619.5 Where can further information on payment of past debts be obtained?

Questions concerning payment of past debts should be referred to the local Social Security office.

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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There is 1 Comment

The only reaseon they are making you get direct deposit it to be able to get at your money by creditors. they cannot get your money if you recieve a paper ck. But if you recieve direct deposit creditors can get your money. Watch and see, this 1 billion in savings to the tax payer by saying thier going paperless is BS. they just want a way to get at your money. if they want to go paperless start by doing at the house of reps,and the us senate, they waste alot of paper.


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