Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have been receiving Supplemental Security Income for two years. I want to work part-time. I am wondering if I have to report my work to the Social Security Administration and if I don’t what happens?”
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overview
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are benefits awarded to claimants who are disabled, aged (65 years or older), or blind who are unable to work. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which requires recipients to work and earn work credit to be insured for benefits, SSI does not require any work history. SSI, however, is only awarded to claimants who have limited income and resources.
Changes which must be reported to the SSA
According to the SSA, you have a legal obligation to report to the SSA any changes which could affect your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. In fact, all changes must be reported “no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred.” Changes that need to be reported include the following:
-If you are traveling outside the US for 30 consecutive days
-Change in address
-Change in living arrangements
-Change in earned and unearned income
-Change in resources, including those of your spouse
-A death of a spouse or anyone else living in your house
-Change in marital status
-Change in immigration status
-Change in help with living expenses from friends or relatives
-Change in school attendance (for those under the age of 22)
-If you have an unsatisfied felony or arrest warrant for escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, or flight-escape.
-If you stop or start work
What if you do not report your return to work?
Although there are certain types and amounts of earned and unearned income which may not reduce your monthly SSI benefit, generally earned income which is greater than $20 will be counted and can reduce your SSI benefit.
For this reason, if you return to work and earn income and do not report your earnings to the SSA, it is likely you will be overpaid and will owe an overpayment. Additionally, if the SSA finds out that you did not report the change within 10 days after the end of the month when the change occurred and you do not pay the overpayment, you can also face additional penalties.
How do I report changes to my income?
So, to answer your question, it is important that you contact the SSA if you are going to return to work. Make sure you understand how your earned income will lower your monthly SSI payments.
The SSA can be contacted online at www.socialsecurity.gov, or by calling toll free at 1-800-772-1213. Information can also be to your local Social Security office or dropped off in person. The SSA has also developed an automated toll-free SSI Telephone Wage Reporting Service.
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