Social Security halts effort to collect old debts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Social Security Administration says it is suspending a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago.

Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said Monday she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review.

Social Security recipients and members of Congress complained that people were being forced to repay overpayments that were sometimes paid to their parents or guardians when they were children.

The agency said it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million.

So far, the agency says it has collected $55 million.

The Washington Post first reported on the program.

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