Am I responsible for the back social secuity that my late husband owed?

My husband and I were separated many times in our marriage but not legally. He just died and I dscovered after getting his affects he owes social secuirty $63k for not telling them he worked. Am I responsible?

Asked on September 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Start by looking at the Social Security website under "frequently asked questions" regarding repayment.  It is my understanding that when an overpayment is not recovered from the person overpaid, the overpayment may be withheld from any other benefits payable on the same Social Security record. Are you collecting social security on his record?  Being still married could definitely be an issue but if they do try and collect there is an appeal you can file.  From their site:

If you were not at fault in causing the overpayment, you may not have to repay it. You may request a waiver of repayment of the overpayment at any time by completing a Form SSA-632 and returning it to your local office or you may call us at the toll-free number shown on your overpayment notice.  If you no longer have your notice, you may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on business days.

In addition to showing that you were not at fault in causing the overpayment, you must show that repayment of the overpayment would deprive you of income needed for ordinary living expenses or that repayment would be unfair for another reason.  

Good luck.

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