Benefits: DSS Overpayment
If you have received more benefits than you should have, the Department of Social Services (DSS) will claim that you have been overpaid.
The overpayment may be through no fault of your own. This is considered to be an overpayment because of agency error, or in other words, a mistake by DSS.
DSS may also consider that you are at fault and the overpayment has been caused because you gave them incorrect information or failed to share information that allowed you to get more benefits than you should have.
If you do not think you were overpaid or that DSS is wrong in considering that you are at fault, you should appeal the decision by DSS.
If you are given a notice of overpayment, you should contact Legal Aid of NC, Inc.. If the overpayment was not your fault, DSS cannot recover the amount of overpayment by deducting it from future benefits (such as reducing your food stamps) unless you agree.
If you do not agree to pay the amount of overpayment, DSS could sue you for the amount owed. If this happens, you can call our office for further assistance.
To pay an overpayment, you can agree to pay the amount in monthly installments. Usually, DSS will ask you to pay off the overpayment in one year.
In addition to an agreement, DSS may ask you to enter a "Confession of Judgment." Signing a Confession of Judgment is a serious matter.
If you sign a Confession of Judgment, DSS will not have to take you to court to collect the overpayment. It has the same effect as a judgment by the court after a trial.
Typically, if you fail to make payments on your agreement for 90 days, DSS will file in court the Confession of Judgment. You now will have a judgment against you for the amount agreed in the Confession of Judgment. The Confession of Judgment may allow DSS to garnish your wages if you are working.
To find other Legal Aid of North Carolina materials, including any materials mentioned in this document, go to lawhelpNC.org. If you need legal help please go to legalaidnc.org/.