20 CFR § 255.12 - When recovery is contrary to the purpose of the Railroad Retirement Act.
(a) The purpose of the Railroad Retirement Act is to pay retirement and survivor annuities and other benefits to eligible beneficiaries. It is contrary to the purpose of the Act for an overpayment to be recovered from income and resources which the individual requires to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses. If either income or resources, or a combination thereof, are sufficient to meet such expenses, recovery of an overpayment is not contrary to the purpose of the Act.
(b) For purposes of this section, income includes any funds which may reasonably be considered available for the individual's use, regardless of source, including inheritance prospects. Income to the individual's spouse or dependents is available to the individual if the spouse or dependent lived with the individual at the time waiver is considered. Types of income include but are not limited to:
(2) Wages and self-employment income;
(3) Regular incoming payments, such as rent or pensions; and
(4) Investment income.
(c) For purposes of this section, resources may include:
(1) Liquid assets, such as cash on hand, the value of stocks, bonds, savings accounts, mutual funds and the like;
(2) Non-liquid assets (except an individual's primary residence) at their fair market value; and
(3) Accumulated, unpaid Federal benefits.
(4) For purposes of paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section, assets concealed or improperly transferred on and after the date of notification of the overpayment, other than cash expended to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses, shall be included.
(d) Whether an individual has sufficient income and resources to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses depends not only on the amount of his or her income and resources, but also on whether the expenses are ordinary and necessary. While the level of expenses which is ordinary and necessary may vary among individuals, it must be held at a level reasonable for an individual who is living on a fixed income. The Board will consider the discretionary nature of an expense in determining whether it is reasonable. Ordinary and necessary living expenses include:
(1) Fixed living expenses such as food and clothing, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, insurance (e.g., life, accident, and health insurance), taxes, installment payments, etc.;
(2) Medical, hospital, and other similar expenses;
(3) Expenses for the support of others for whom the individual is legally responsible; and
(4) Miscellaneous expenses (e.g., newspapers, haircuts).
(e) Where recovery of the full amount of an overpayment would be made from income and resources required to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses, but recovery of a lesser amount would leave income or resources sufficient to meet such expenses, recovery of the lesser amount is not contrary to the purpose of the Act.
(f) This section may be illustrated by the following examples: