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Can the Social Security Administration terminate my SSI benefits?

If you have struggled months or years to get your Supplemental Security Income benefits the last thing you need is to worry about is the Social Security Administration (SSA) terminating your benefits.

So can the SSA stop your SSI payments? Yes, the Social Security Administration does terminate benefits for a variety of reasons, and many claimants have their SSI benefits stopped simply because they did not understand SSI and the requirements of the program.

Terminating Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments

The Social Security Administration can stop Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for the following reasons:

• The SSA determines the SSI claimant is not disabled after a Continuing Disability Review (CDR)

According to Section 221(i) of the Social Security Act, Social Security Disability
claimants may expect a review of their Social Security Disability benefits at least every 3 years. SSI claimants who are disabled with a “permanent” condition may not have a CDR that frequently, but the SSA has the right to determine when a CDR may be appropriate.

Following the Continuing Disability Review, if the SSA determines the claimant is not disabled and their condition has improved to such an extent they can return to work, SSI benefits can be terminated.

• The Supplemental Security Income claimant returns to work

SSI claimants may be allowed to work part-time but working too much or making too much money can either lower or eliminate benefits. For the SSI program, the SSA treats wages as an ongoing possibility and will evaluate the claimant’s wages each month and compute their SSI benefit based on the amount of countable income the claimant earned.

For example, the SSA allows claimants to keep the first $65 they make each month, but if the SSI claimant makes more than $65 the SSA reduces the claimant’s SSI payment for that month. Some claimants who have returned to part-time employment without understand the SSI program, not only have their SSI benefits terminated, they may find they also owe the SSA money due to overpayments of SSI benefits.

Any SSI claimant who is considering returning to part-time employment should contact the SSA for more information to avoid benefit termination or overpayment.

• The claimant’s resource level increases

SSI is cash assistance program for claimants who have limited resources. What are resources? Resources, as defined by the SSA, can be anything a claimant owns such as land, vehicles, personal property, bank accounts, United States’ Savings Bonds, life insurance, and cash. The current limit for 2011 is $2000 per individual and $3000 per couple.

The SSA does allow the current exemptions. These resources will not count toward the claimant’s resource limit.

• The claimant’s primary residence and land
• The claimant’s personal effects and household goods.
• Burial plots for the claimant’s immediate family members
• Burial funds for the claimant and their spouse up to $1,500
• Life insurance policies for $1500 or less
• The claimant is allowed to own one vehicle
• Grants, fellowships, or gifts which are set aside to pay for educational costs within 9 months after their receipt
• Retroactive SSI or Social Security benefits for up to nine months after the claimant received them

Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you would like a Social Security Disability attorney to review your disability claim, fill out the FREE evaluation form and a disability advocate will call you to review your claim or you can call our office at 1-800-641-3759 to talk to someone now.