The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Good DTA changes to Agency Error overpayments, MCLE SSDI/SSI training

We are writing with some good news about overpayments that are due to DTA error, and information about an upcoming training on SSDI and SSI for persons with disabilities. 
 
Positive changes to DTA overpayment policies
 
After extensive advocacy from MLRI, DTA has made some positive changes to how it handles Agency Error overpayments (overpayments that are DTA's fault). The changes include:
  • elimination of 100% of the Agency Error overpayment amount for active SNAP cases where all household members are 67 or older 
  • 50% reduction of the Agency Error overpayment amount for all other active SNAP cases 
  • increase of threshold to establish (create) an Agency Error overpayment to $600, and to $125 for client errors (unintentional) and fraud cases (intentional).  
If you have clients who you think should benefit from these changes or you have questions about what this means, please let us know. 
 
DTA Overpayment Issues - Please help fix issues by flagging cases!
 
MLRI and our legal services partners have been looking into a number of issues with how DTA establishes (creates) overpayments, and how overpayments are calculated.   
 
Attached is a one page overview of general overpayment rules for SNAP.
Some examples of issues we have seen include:
  • DTA issuing overpayments even when the SNAP household did nothing wrong and there is no overpayment under the SNAP rules (eg. because under simplified reporting rules the client wasn't required to report a change)
  • DTA calculating the amount of the overpayment incorrectly (eg. counting income incorrectly)
  • DTA listing an overpayment as client error (an unintentional program violation) when it was actually Agency Error (DTA's fault)
If you work with any clients who have an overpayment that DTA is collecting on, or who are told by DTA that they have an overpayment, please let Vicky Negus know - vnegus@mlri.org or 857 241 1715.   
 
MCLE Basic Benefits Training: SSI & SSDI Basics 

When: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 9:30 am–4:00 pm
Where: MCLE, 10 Winter Place, Boston. 
Register by clicking here

Social Security disability programs continue to be a major source of cash and health benefits for individuals with disabilities. However, dealing with a large federal agency can be daunting and overwhelming, especially for an unrepresented claimant.

The program begins with an overview of the two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), with emphasis on eligibility requirements and procedures, including basic disability eligibility standards and non-disability issues such as income, resources, and non-citizen criteria. An explanation of the recently revised evidence submission and analysis rules begins with the afternoon session followed by overview of the appeals process for disability applications. Concluding the program is a review of certain post-entitlement issues, with special emphasis on continuing disability reviews, work incentives rules, and benefits overpayments. The training is for legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice who are thinking of representing clients before SSA, social and health workers, and community activists.
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