SYLVIA H. RAMBO, District Judge.
Before the court is a request for judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of a decision by the Acting Commissioner of Social Security that denied Plaintiff's request for a waiver of reimbursement of an overpayment of social security disability benefits.
Plaintiff became entitled to a period of disability and disability insurance benefits effective August 1998. Plaintiff completed a nine-month trial work period from August 1998 through April 2000 (Tr. 37-42). Plaintiff's disability ceased in August 2002. Plaintiff's entitlement to a period of disability and disability insurance benefits ended November 2002 and Plaintiff was overpaid disability insurance benefits from November 2002 through June 2008. It was determined that Plaintiff was not without fault in causing or accepting the overpayment and that recovery of the overpayment was not waived.
The issue before the court is whether the Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's request for a waiver of reimbursement of an overpayment of social security disability payments is supported by substantial evidence.
It is the responsibility of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") in the first instance to determine whether Plaintiff has met the statutory prerequisites for a waiver of any agency benefit overpayment. In making this determination, the ALJ must follow certain statutory and regulatory guideposts. Initially, the statute provides for the waiver of recovery of overpayments, stating in pertinent part:
In any case in which more than the correct amount of payment has been made, there shall be no adjustment of payments to, or recovery by the United States from, any person who is without fault if such adjustment or recovery would defeat the purpose of this title or would be against equity and good conscience.
Title 42 U.S.C. § 404(b). In this circuit, the District of New Jersey ruled:
Therefore, the standard for waiver imposes an obligation upon the [Commissioner] to recover overpayments unless the individual is without fault, and recovery of the overpayment would defeat the purpose of the Act or be against equity and good conscience. Waiver of recovery is not to be applied unless both of the criteria are met.
Lang v. Sullivan , 762 F.Supp. 628, 631 (D.N.J. 1991) aff'd sub nom. Lang v. Dep't of Health and Human Servs. , 947 F.2d 936 (3d Cir. 1991).
In order to obtain a waiver of recovery, Plaintiff was obliged to prove two matters. First, that he was without fault and second, that recovery of the overpayment would defeat the purpose of Title II or would be against equity and good conscience. See 42 U.S.C. § 404(b). A claimant, like Plaintiff, typically has the burden of showing that he was without fault in causing an overpayment. See, e.g., Anderson v. Sullivan , 914 F.2d 1121, 1122 (9th Cir. 1990); Bray v. Bowen , 854 F.2d 685, 687 (5th Cir. 1988); Viehman v. Schweiker , 679 F.2d 223, 227 (11th Cir. 1982); and Lang v. Sullivan , 762 F.Supp. at 631-32 (D.N.J. 1991), aff'd sub nom. Lang v. Dep't of Health and Human Servs. , 947 F.2d 936 (3d Cir. 1991)("the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing whether a waiver of recovery is applicable. Valente v. Secretary of Health and Human Servs.733 F.2d 1037, 1042-43 (2d Cir. 1984).") Since a claimant like Plaintiff must carry the burden of proof on both of these elements of a waiver claim, if it is determined that a claimant is at fault, there is no need to make a determination regarding the second prong of the analysis regarding whether recovery of the overpayment would defeat the purpose of Title II or would be against equity and good conscience. Garnett ...