Justina Worrell (47), works part time in a nursing home as a cook. She suffers from cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. Her cardiac condition required her to get an artificial valve when she was 20 years old.
She was receiving disability benefits of about $1,065 per month from Social Security and earning $862 per month when she received a letter from the federal government. The letter stated that the Social Security Administration overpaid her and demanded money back.
It said that she must send a money order or check to the government within 30 days.
“Social Security should be to help people, not to destroy them,” said Addie Arnold, Worrell’s aunt and caregiver.
The Social Security Administration is trying to reclaim billions of dollars from many of the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable — payments it sent them but now says they never should have received.
During the 2022 fiscal year, the agency clawed back $4.7 billion of overpayments, while another $21.6 billion remained outstanding, according to a report by SSA’s inspector general.
A costly collection effort by the government can be a devastating experience for…