In 2008, Congress authorized an agressive collection program for Social Security to recoup overpayments. The objective of the program was collect the millions of dollars in overpayments made to beneficiaries. Most all people agree that overpayments should be recouped.However the manner in which the agency went after the debts and who they attempted to collect debts from raised public outcry. Acting Commissioner Carol Colvin put a halt to program on April 14, 2014 until a further review could be conducted.Colvin added that anyone whose tax refunds had been seized request that the agency provide an explanation for the seizure. If appropriate individuals should request a refund,
SSA was in some cases collecting debts that were more than a decade old and collecting payments from children whose parents had been overpaid on their account. Social Security spokesman indicated "We want to assure the public that we do not seek restitution through tax refund offset in cases when the debt in question was prior to the debtor turning 18 years of age."
The agency has in place regulations and policy for overpayments. The rules provide that overpayments may be waived if the beneficiary was without fault in causing the overpayment. Currently the agency is being criticized for collecting the debts in some cases of relatives and debts that are more than ten years old.