§ 404.509 (1985): “Against equity and good conscience” means that adjustment or recovery of an incorrect payment (under title II of title XVIII) will be considered inequitable if an individual, because of a notice that such payment would be made or by reason of the incorrect payment, relinquished a valuable right (examples (1) and (4)) or changed his or her position for the worse (examples (2) and (3)).
Lets say you are “without fault.” then you still have to prove that the adjustment or recovery (repayment) would either 1) defeat the purpose of title II of the Act, 2) Be against equity and good conscience.
It says that it does not matter that Social Security may have given you bad advice, that you met with them and showed them your paystubs and they still sent you a check.
If you decide to fight an overpayment, you need to know what you are up against.
An individual’s ordinary and necessary expenses include: (1) Fixed living expenses, such as food and clothing, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, insurance (e.g., life, accident, and health insurance including premiums for supplementary medical insurance benefits under the XVIII), taxes, installment payments, etc.; (2) Medical, hospitalization, and other similar expenses; (3) Expenses for the support of others for whom the individual is legally responsible; and (4) Other miscellaneous expenses which may reasonably be considered as part of the individual’s standard of living.
with respect to an individual: (a) Who is without fault, and (b) Adjustment or recovery would either: (1) Defeat the purpose of title II of the Act, or (2) Be against equity and good conscience.
How does Social Security determine if you are at fault?
Although the Administration may have been at fault in making the overpayment, that fact does not relieve the overpaid individual or any other individual from whom the Administration seeks to recover the overpayment from liability for repayment if such individual is not without fault.
(b) When adjustment or recovery will defeat the purpose of title II.
An individual will not be without fault where, after having been exonerated for a “deduction overpayment” and after having been advised of the correct interpretation of the deduction provision, he incurs another “deduction overpayment” under the same circumstances as the first overpayment.
The Secretary has promulgated regulations which interpret the meaning of the statutory phrases: “defeat the purpose of” and “against equity and good conscience.” Defeating the purpose of Title II is defined at 20 C.
In reaching such a determination, the individual’s financial circumstances are irrelevant.
A widow, having been awarded benefits for herself and daughter, entered her daughter in private school because the monthly benefits made this possible.