I have a friend who is Native American, low income, has been considered legally blind since the age of 5, and has been on SSDI since 1990. She has complied with all requests and provided all documentation showing proof of her disability, her income level, and part time hours worked (not to exceed 30, which she complied with) during that time. Recently, she received a letter from Social Security informing her that they overpaid her by $144,000.00, and that she has to pay it back, because they say they overpaid her from 1995 to 2007. Much of that time was supposed to be a state-run sheltered workshop for the disabled, and the rest was as a student worker for Phoenix College and for ASU. What this means is that they will stop all SSDI payments from next month until May 2024!
Social Security determined that even though the SSDI payments are her primary means of income, she only brings home some $700 from her part time job (due to restrictions of Social Security, she can only work so many hours and make a limited amount of money), and the fact all doctors she has gone to (including the Native American hospital, and doctors representing Social Security) have all confirmed repeatedly she is legally blind, that she somehow has the means of repayment of $144,000.00. I know her well and she is honest. She did not knowlingly do anything wrong, and I think this is a government mistake. On top of this, the attorney she had helping her bailed today, and dropped her case because they have other cases that take priority (meaning will make more money for them, I guess), with only 11 days left to appeal the decision by Social Security.
Does anyone know, or can recommend, an attorney who specializes in Social Security issues like this, and can either work pro bono, or wait for payment until after the case is resolved?
Thank you for any recommendations.