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In the Matter for Benjamin v. United States, Social Security Administration

932 F.3d 293 (2019)

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In the Matter for Benjamin v. United States, Social Security Administration

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

932 F.3d 293 (2019)

Facts

Kenneth Benjamin (plaintiff) was a representative payee for his sister, who received disability benefits. Representative payees were personally liable for any overpayments of benefits they received on behalf of the benefits recipient. In April 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) (defendant) determined that Benjamin’s sister had returned to work. In September 2012, the SSA discontinued the benefits for Benjamin’s sister. This time lag resulted in Benjamin receiving an overpayment of $20,000. The SSA planned to recoup the overpayment by withholding $500 each month from Benjamin’s own Social Security benefits. Benjamin requested a waiver. Before making a decision on the waiver request, the SSA began withholding $500 from Benjamin’s monthly Social Security payments, which was against the SSA’s own policy of not collecting an overpayment until a waiver request is considered. The SSA denied Benjamin’s waiver request, and Benjamin appealed. Benjamin also filed for bankruptcy. In bankruptcy court, Benjamin sued the SSA, alleging the SSA withheld part of his Social Security benefits in violation of the SSA’s own regulations and also requesting a repayment. The SSA moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the bankruptcy court did not have jurisdiction over the case because § 405 of the Social Security Act barred jurisdiction. The bankruptcy court dismissed the case, which the district court affirmed. Benjamin appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clement, J.)

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