Benefit Recovery Unit

Friendly professional woman talking on phone

The Benefit Recovery Unit is responsible for establishing and collecting overpayments for all MDHS programmatic divisions.

The Benefit Recovery Unit (BRU) recovers benefits issued in error.

Purpose

The Benefit Recovery Unit (BRU) is the primary MDHS division responsible for the recovery of government issued benefits that were issued to individuals or other entities in error.

BRU establishes, reviews, approves, and denies claims for MDHS programmatic divisions and tracks and monitors the recovery amount owed to MDHS for any improper payment.

When needed, BRU establishes repayment agreements with clients or agency subgrantees that are required to repay benefits or grant funds and refers clients for interception of federal payments via the Treasury Offset Program, when overpayments are not repaid in a timely manner.

What is an Overpayment?

If you received benefits that you were not eligible to receive, you received an overpayment. The amount of an overpayment is the difference between the amount of benefits you were eligible to receive and the amount that you actually received.

Overpayments could be the result of an agency error, a client error, or a misunderstanding.

Demand for Repayment Notice

If the agency identifies that you received an overpayment, the Benefit Recovery Unit will send you a Demand for Repayment Notice.

You should complete the notice and return it to BRU as soon as possible to establish a repayment plan. You can return the notice by email or by mail.

Email

Benefit.recovery@mdhs.ms.gov

Mail

Mississippi Department of Human Services
Attn: Benefit Recovery Unit
PO Box 352
Jackson, MS 39205

It is very important to respond to the Demand for Repayment Notice so that a repayment plan can be established to prevent delinquency

If you do not respond to the Demand for Repayment Notice, you may be found to be delinquent which can result in your federal tax refund, social security benefits, or other federal benefits being intercepted and used to repay the overpayment.

Make a Repayment

If you have been notified that you need to repay funds to MDHS, there are several ways to make a payment:

Mail a Cashier’s Check or money order to:

Mississippi Department of Human Services
Attn: Benefit Recovery Unit
PO Box 352
Jackson, MS 39205

Please make payable to the State of MS Treasury. Please include your case number with your payment so the payment can be properly credited to your account.

Electronic Payments, if applicable.

  • Electronic payments are only available for SNAP or TANF overpayments.
  • We accept VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and ACH
  • If you would like to make an electronic payment, call BRU to find out if you are eligible: 1-800-948-4050.

Benefit Allotment

Benefits withdrawn from EBT card

  • If you would like to voluntarily use your EBT benefits to make a payment on your overpayment, send an email request to benefit.recovery@mdhs.ms.gov.

Treasury Offset Program (TOP)

If you received a SNAP overpayment, and you do not establish a repayment plan, your claim may be sent to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) and your federal income tax refund, social security payments, or federal salary may be intercepted to repay your SNAP overpayment.
Don’t lose your federal tax refund! If you need to establish a repayment plan for a SNAP overpayment, contact BRU at 1-800-948-4050.

How does the TOP process work?

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a federal program for collecting delinquent (past due) food assistance overpayments (called offsets) from federal payments such as income tax refunds, federal salaries, and social security payments.

A SNAP overpayment becomes delinquent (past due) when a household does not return a written repayment agreement with an acceptable monthly payment within 30 days from the date of the notice of the overpayment.

When no repayment agreement is received, a second demand letter (60 Days Repayment Notice) is sent to the household as a last chance opportunity to establish a repayment agreement. Failure to respond to and/or make agreed upon payments for the 60 Days Repayment Notice causes the debt to automatically be sent to TOP as a result of delinquency

If a written repayment agreement and payment are not received within 60 days from the date of second notification, the claim will be sent for TOP collection.

Can I appeal a TOP referral?

If a household disagrees with the TOP action, they can request a State Review, which will determine if the overpayment is past due and legally enforceable. The State Review includes verification that the following actions have occurred:

  • The Notice of Case Action/Demand Notice with a due date was sent to the household when the claim was created;
  • The household was given the opportunity to appeal the overpayment; and
  • No member of the household is currently participating in the SNAP program.
    If a client disagrees with a State Review decision, the client can request a Federal Review. The federal review decision will be final.

You can request a TOP State Review by email or by mail. We strongly recommend you request your review by email to ensure accurate and speedy processing.

Request a TOP State Review by:

To request a TOP State Review, email the following information to BRU at benefit.recovery@mdhs.ms.gov:

  • Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Reason for Review
  • Attach any supporting documentation

We strongly recommend you complete the online request to ensure accurate and speedy processing but mail in requests are allowed.

To request a TOP State Review, provide the following information. You can write or type it out on a sheet of paper.

  • Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Reason for Review

Include a copy of any supporting documentation and a copy of your TOP notice if available.
Mail this information to:

Mississippi Department of Human Services
Benefit Recovery Unit
PO Box 352
Jackson, MS 39205

Frequently Asked Questions

Overpayments may be the result of an agency error, a client error, or a misunderstanding.

When an agency staff member discovers that a benefit recipient may have received benefits that they were not eligible to receive, an overpayment review request is sent to BRU. The Benefit Recovery Unit reviews the case to determine if incorrect benefits were received. If BRU determines that an overpayment occurred, they will notify the client and seek to establish a repayment plan.

Benefits are intended for clients/recipients who are eligible to receive them. If you were issued benefits in error, regardless of fault, MDHS has a duty to recover those benefits to ensure they are issued to eligible recipients.

If you would like to voluntarily use your EBT benefits to make a payment on your SNAP overpayment, send an email request to benefit.recovery@mdhs.ms.gov. Include your name, case number, and the amount that should be applied to your overpayment balance.

Any adults (18 years of age and older) who lived in the household during the time that the overpayment occurred can be accountable to make repayment.

After BRU determines that an overpayment occurred, if the case is not being investigated for fraud, BRU will send a demand letter (overpayment notice) to the client letting them know that an overpayment has been identified and asking for repayment of all claims.

If the case is being investigated for fraud, a notice will be sent after a hearing or court decision is complete.

The Benefit Recovery Unit will determine the monthly repayment amount by dividing the full overpayment by 36 months (3 years). If the monthly repayment amount is less than $50, the monthly payment will be $50.

The Benefit Recovery Unit accepts electronic payments for all clients who are eligible for this service. This includes clients repaying SNAP or TANF benefits who have not been referred for offsets through TOP.

To set up recuring monthly online payments, you also will need to review and agree to the terms and conditions for this service and have a valid email address.

Please contact the Benefit Recovery Unit at 1-800-948-4050 if you are interested in making online payments.

Yes. You may cancel online enrollment at any time. If you need help, contact BRU at 1-800-948-4050.

Yes. If you need help, contact BRU at 1-800-948-4050.

Yes. You may store up to three bank accounts, three debit cards, and three credit cards.

It may take up to two (2) business days for your payment to be credited to your overpayment account. Please make your payment at least five days before the last business day of the month to ensure that your payment is not considered late. Payments made after 5PM EST or on weekends and federal holidays will not begin processing until the next business day.

We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. ACH payments are also accepted.

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a federally mandated collection program that allows for the interception of federal payments (called offset), such as income tax refunds and social security payments, in order to repay established food assistance overpayment claims. This is a joint program with the states, Department of the Treasury, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other federal government agencies.

Yes, if you have an overpayment in food or cash assistance and you are currently receiving assistance, your benefits will automatically be reduced to begin repayment of the claim. If you are no longer receiving assistance, you must contact BRU (1-800-948-4050) within 30 days of the date on your Demand for Repayment Notice to set up a repayment agreement and begin making regular payments to repay the overpayment.

The amount of benefit reduction depends on the type of assistance and the type of overpayment that occurred.

For a food assistance or cash assistance overpayment due to client or agency error, benefits will be reduced by 10%. For overpayments due to intentional program violations, benefits are reduced by 20%.

For childcare subsidy overpayments, subsidy funds will be recouped at a 1/12th rate monthly until all overissuances have been paid in full.

If you have a question about your overpayment or repayment options, please contact the Benefit Recovery Unit at 1-800-948-4050 or benefit.recovery@mdhs.ms.gov.

If your federal payment has already been offset, and a TOP State Review is requested and approved, then the offset will be refunded to you. If your TOP State Review is denied, the offset will not be refunded and will be applied to the overpayment.

You should report this information through the MDHS Fraud Tip Form or by calling 1-800-299-6905.