disabilities, inferentially brought within its purview all
other individuals drawing benefits "under a workmen's
compensation law or plan of the United States or of a
State * * *."
Moreover, it is obvious that Congress did not share
plaintiff's interpretation that Section 224 applied only to
duplicate compensation for the same injury since payments by
the Veterans' Administration clearly would not arise from the
same injury as would give rise to a claim under the Social
Security Act. Had Congress subscribed to plaintiff's
interpretation, the 1957 amendment excluding Veterans'
Administration payments would have been unnecessary. Congress
will not be presumed to have enacted useless legislation. M.H.
Pulaski Co. v. United States, 1915, 6 Ct. Cust.App. 291.
In this view, plaintiff's contentions fail. It is apparent
that her social security benefit, to which she would otherwise
have been entitled, was properly withheld for the period in
question by virtue of Section 224.
There remains the question of whether plaintiff may be
deemed "without fault" in accepting the overpayment, and
whether recovery or adjustment of it would defeat the purpose
of Title II of the Social Security Act or would be against
equity and good conscience.
In this connection plaintiff contends that she was "without
fault" in accepting the monthly disability insurance benefits
for the period involved. But this argument is weakened by the
answers plaintiff gave on her application for these benefits.
On that application she agreed to notify the Social Security
Administration promptly if she were to receive a payment from
another Federal agency or under a Federal or State workmen's
compensation law or plan. This application was filed on July
18, 1957. Plaintiff had previously applied for Illinois
workmen's compensation benefits which were allowed on July 19,
1957, the day following that on which she filed her
application with the Social Security Administration. Yet it
was not until after the overpayment had been made in March,
1959 that she filed the required notice.
Moreover, under the Social Security Regulations (No. 4,
sections 404.507 — 404.509, 20 C.F.R.), to be "without fault"
an individual has the responsibility to furnish full and
accurate information. An individual will be considered "at
fault" if the overpayment was the result of a statement which
he knew or should have known was incorrect, or the result of
failure to give information that he knew or should have known
was material to the case. Here the plaintiff cannot deny that
she knew, when she filed her application for disability
insurance benefits, that she had applied for workmen's
Furthermore, her contention that she is "without fault"
because she relied on an "official publication" — OASI-29 of
April, 1957, pages 10-12 — is without merit. This same
publication, at pages 27-28, discusses the offset provisions of
Section 224. If plaintiff misread or misunderstood the
pamphlet, or did not read it through, the responsibility of
error rests with her.
It is therefore apparent that the hearing examiner's finding
that plaintiff was not "without fault" in failing to exercise
the necessary degree of care in deciding what information
should be reported is supported by substantial evidence.
In view of the fact that the court finds support in the
record for the hearing examiner's conclusion that plaintiff
was not "without fault" in accepting the overpayment, it is
unnecessary to determine whether recovery or adjustment would
defeat the purpose of Title II of the Act or would be against
equity and good conscience. In this regard, however, it should
be pointed out that the hearing examiner's opinion cites
testimony to the effect that on the day of the hearing
plaintiff had $600.00 in the bank and $150.00 in cash at home,
and that she had no debts or obligations of any kind except
current medical expenses which would be paid at the end of
For all the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Secretary
that plaintiff is not entitled to receive payment of
disability insurance benefits for the months of July, 1957
through July, 1958 is affirmed.
An order consistent with the above will be entered.
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