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What changes do I report?

Some Social Security Disability claimants want very little to do with the Social Security Administration (SSA) after the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit have been awarded. This is understandable, especially if you fought months to win your SSI or SSDI benefits, but under some conditions, you must contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and report changes to your living situation or you may either miss out on SSI or SSDI benefits you are entitled to receive or worse, end up repaying money in which you were not entitled.

In the worst situations, if you continue to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security income payments that you are not entitled to receive you could be prosecuted for disability fraud.

When do I contact the Social Security Administration?

1.    You move to a new address

Moving is stressful but if you are receiving a check from the Social Security Administration you need to contact them and give them your new address and phone number. Some claimants who receive a direct deposit for their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)  into their bank account may not think this is necessary, but the SSA will periodically need to send you information and all changes in address must be reported to them.

2.    Your medical health condition changes

If your medical health condition changes and you are able to return to work you are expected to notify the Social Security Administration. If you do not do this and you are paid money you are not entitled to receive, you may be forced to repay the Social Security Administration (SSA).

3.    You return to work

Many workers return to work and do not notify the Social Security Administration. This is a mistake. The SSA has programs to help workers make work attempts for a specified time period without losing their medical insurance or disability benefits (the process of SSDI and SSI vary).  Claimants who attempt to work and are unable will continue to receive their benefits. Claimants who return to work for more than nine months but later determine they cannot work may, under certain conditions, be able to quickly reinstate their benefits.

4.    When you leave the United States

Claimants who are United States citizens who reside outside the United States can generally continue to receive benefits with little difficulty. Claimants who are not United States citizens but are considered “aliens” may have more difficulty keeping their benefits and may have to either return to the U.S. every 30 days or for 30 consecutive days in a 6 month period. For questions concerning your right to continue receiving disability benefits when you travel abroad it is best to contact the Social Security Administration. There are various treaties and international agreements which may affect your right to disability payments.

5.    When you get married or divorced

Marriage and divorce can affect disability payments, especially for claimants receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits. For children receiving an auxiliary benefit, their payments may be terminated when they marry. If you are married and receiving SSI benefits and you divorce, your payments may go up (if your SSI payments were less than the full Federal Benefit Rate because of your spouse’s income). If you did not qualify for SSI benefits due to your spouse’s income, you may qualify if you divorce if you can prove that you are disabled and have limited income and resources.
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