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Can The IRS Take My SSI To Repay My Tax Debts?

SSI or "Supplemental Security Income" is a program administered by the Social Security Administration. Monthly benefits are paid to individuals with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also be eligible for SSI.

In July 2000, the IRS, in conjunction with the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Fiscal Service (BFS), initiated the Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP), which is authorized by Internal Revenue Code § 6331 (h). Through this program, the IRS may collect overdue taxes through a continuous levy on certain federal payments disbursed by the BFS. The following is a list of federal payments that may be levied through the FPLP:

  • Federal employee retirement annuities,
  • Federal payments made to you as a contractor or vendor doing business with the government,
  • Federal employee travel advances or reimbursements,
  • Certain Social Security benefits paid to taxpayers,
  • Some federal salaries,
  • Medicare provider and supplier payments, and
  • Railroad Retirement Board benefits paid to taxpayers.

The program is expected to expand in the future to include other types of federal payments and federal employee salaries.

In February of 2002, Social Security benefits paid under Title II, Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Benefits were subject to the 15-percent levy through the FPLP to pay a delinquent tax debt. However, as of October 5, 2015, IRS no longer systemically levies the SSA Disability Insurance Benefits through the FPLP. However, it does in fact continue to levy Old Age and Survivors Benefits at 15% through the FPLP to satisfy a delinquent tax debt.

Lump sum death benefits and benefits paid to children are not included in the FPLP. Also, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, under Title XVI are not levied through the FPLP. Also, as of February of 2011, certain delinquent taxpayers who receive social security payments are excluded from the FPLP if their income falls at or below certain established levels, based on the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines.

Federal payments made to a delinquent taxpayer will not be included in the FPLP in certain circumstances, such as bankruptcy, pending or current relief as an innocent or injured spouse, or a hardship situation as determined by the IRS. Of course, if a taxpayer has made alternative payment arrangements, these will not be included in the FPLP.

At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and debt defense attorneys help individuals with financial problems that cause hardship. The experienced South Florida defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to review your potential claims against a debt collector, and will help you recover the damages you deserve. Contact our office today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813) and see how we can help.
  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
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