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$155,000 SSA Overpayment Claim Defeated

Case Synopsis:

In 1999, our client was injured in a non work-related car accident.  Though in pain, he continued to work through 2001, at which point his back injury and resulting surgery, forced him to stop work.  During the early stages of his leave, he exhausted his accrued sick and vacation time to avoid a devastating loss of income.  Ultimately, he was awarded Social Security disability benefits.

Recently, our client returned to work.  Upon review of his file, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) wrongly alleged the payments that our client received for sick and leave time in 2001 proved our client was working during the initial time that he claimed to be disabled.  As a result, SSA attempted to collect an overpayment from our client in the amount of $155,000, which included the alleged overpayment, penalties and interest.  SSA even attempted to place a lien on our client’s wages once he returned to work!

Mike McGurrin from our firm took this difficult case.  The matter proved even harder because our client’s work records from 2001 had been destroyed or were missing.  Regardless, Mike argued that W-2’s, standing alone, are not evidence that a person worked.  Indeed, IRS regulations note that sick and vacation pay are “wages” and thus will appear on a W-2 as “wages” even when someone does not work.  The judge assigned this case agreed with Mr. McGurrin and dismissed SSA’s claim.

Outcome:

SSA’s claim that our client was working while collecting social security disability payments was soundly defeated, saving our client nearly $155,000!

If you have been injured and need help with a Workers’ Compensation, employment discrimination, or social security matter, please contact Mike McGurrin at mmcgurrin@galfandberger.com or call toll free at 800-222-8792 to learn about your legal rights.