Legal Question in Consumer Law in California

If the county is issuing food stamps for needy people at $500 a month for a family of 3 for at least a year then suddenly cuts the allowance to $100 a month saying they were over paid and admitted the country made the mistake. is it legal or proper for the county to threaten collections to get back in this case $2,900. The people who received the food stamp money had no Idea they were being issued to much so their was no intent to defraud the county. If the county admitted it was their fault and the recipients had no knowledge or intent to defraud why should these people be made to try and pay back the money, after all if they were able to pay they wouldn't need the assistance in the first place, The county wants payments back and threatens to get it out of the husbands disability payments. The county should take the loss and not try to get out of people who can't afford it.

Please advise.

Asked on 7/20/21, 11:28 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

It may not seem fair, but it is the law. It might help if you think about it this way. If I owed you and another person money, and I was paying you off $100/mo and the other person $200/mo. I had a friend of mine dropping off the payments in cash on your door step to you and the other person each month. But my friend screwed up and left the entire $300 on your doorstep every month. You probably thought I was just paying you back faster, but as a result I overpaid you $2,900 more than I owed you. You loaned a lot of people money and weren't keeping track of every payment very well, so you didn't notice. In that situation it would be entirely fair and right for me to get my overpayment back. The only real option you have is to negotiate a repayment plan.

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Answered on 7/21/21, 10:52 am

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