Can a past employer ask for money back if they sent too many disability checks?

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Can a past employer ask for money back if they sent too many disability checks?

My mother has been receiving disability checks from a past employer. They contend that these checks were supposed to expire 4 months ago, yet they “mistakenly” continued to send through last month. The past employer says that she now has to pay them back even though it was their mistake. Does she really have to pay them back? Can they take legal action if she doesn’t?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that they are correct and the checks were sent to her by mistake, then yes, they can require repayment, and sue your mother if she does not pay them. A mistake does not create a legal entitlement to keep another's money; for example, if you mother accidentally double paid her utility bill, she would be entitled to get the overpayment back (or at least get a credit vs. future bills). Similarly, if she accidentally received too much money, the payor can seek the return of the overpayment.


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