Know Your Responsibilities
Once you receive a Social Security Disability approval, your contact with the Social Security Administration is not over. It is important to report changes in your situation that could affect your getting your monthly benefit on time or your ability to avail yourself of Social Security’s several work incentive programs. Additionally, prompt report of changes in your health or work activity can help you avoid overpayments.
16 Events to Report
1. Your medical condition improves enough that you could work if you wanted to and work was available.
2. You take a job or become self-employed—no matter how little you earn. Let the SSA know how many hours you expect to work and how much you will be earning. Also, report if your employer, duties, or wages change. If you have not recovered, you may be eligible for the SSA’s work-incentive programs and continued SSDI benefits. See our video “Can I Keep Getting Benefits When I Am Working on Social Security Disability?”
3. You become eligible to receive worker’s compensation or disability retirement or regular retirement from a public employer. This should be reported whether you receive monthly benefits or a lump sum settlement as your Social Security Disability benefits will have to be recalculated.
4. You are offered vocational services under the SSA’s Ticket to Work Program.
5. Your benefits change or stop and you haven’t received a notification.
6. You and/or your family members who are getting Social Security benefits plan to move. If the SSA is unable to contact you, your benefit payments will stop. Tell the SSA the effective date of your new address and new phone number. Of course, also inform your local post office of your change of address.
7. Your benefit is being paid via direct deposit into your financial institution account and you change institutions. Report the name of the new institution and new account number to which you want your benefits sent. Allow 30-60 days for the SSA to revise their records. Keep your present bank account open until your SSDI benefit is received at your new financial institution.
8. You get married or divorced. If you are receiving disability dependents or survivor’s benefits on a spouse’s or parent’s earnings record, your benefits may stop if you marry or divorce. If you are receiving benefits on your own earnings record, marriage may qualify your new spouse and your step-children for benefits after a year’s waiting period.
9. You change your name by marriage or court order. If you do not notify the SSA right away, your benefits will continue to be issued under your old name and, if you have direct deposit, payments may not reach your account. If your SSDI benefits are being deposited onto an SSA-issued Direct Express® debit card, you might have problems using the card to make purchases or withdraw cash if the name on your identification is different from the name on your card.
10. You’ve been receiving benefits because you were caring for a worker’s child younger than age sixteen or a disabled adult child and the child has left your care. Notify the SSA immediately and provide the name and address of the person with whom the child is now living. (A temporary separation may not affect your benefits if you continue to have parental control over the child, such as sending a child to stay with a relative for a short while, but your benefits will stop if you no longer have responsibility for the child.) Be sure to report your situation to the SSA so they can determine whether you continue to be eligible for benefits.
11. You become the parent of a child including an adopted child after you qualify for benefits. The SSA will determine whether the child qualifies for dependents benefits.
12. You were caring for a child who was receiving benefits and the child has been adopted by someone else. Notify the SSA of the child’s new name, the date of the adoption decree, and the adopting parent’s name and address. The adoption will not cause the child’s benefits to stop, and in rare circumstances the child might be eligible for a higher benefit under a combined family maximum.
13. A family member who is receiving Social Security benefits dies. Also, make arrangements for someone to report to the SSA if you die while receiving benefits. Benefits are not payable for the month of death, so if a benefit payment is received for the month of death, it must be returned to the SSA. For example: If the person dies in July, the payment received in August, which is for July, must be returned. If direct deposit is used, notify the financial institution of the death, so it can return any payments that are not due. Note:Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits when a person getting disability benefits dies.
14. You are convicted of a crime and are incarcerated for more than thirty continuous days after your confiscation, your benefits wills top. Similarly, benefits are not paid to persons confined in a mental institution or other facility in lieu of being jailed after a conviction or after being found innocent due to insanity or unfit to stand trial. While you’re confined, the SSA will not pay you disability benefits; however, any family members eligible for benefits based on your earnings record may continue to receive their benefits.
15. You violate a condition of parole or probation imposed under federal or state law. Regular disability benefits or any underpayment due will not be paid for any month in which the violation occurs or continues.
16.You leave the United States for thirty days or more and would like your benefit payments sent abroad. If you’re a U.S. citizen, you can travel to or live in most foreign countries without affecting your benefits; however, benefits cannot be sent to Cuba or North Korea. Withheld benefits can be paid to you once you leave these countries to live in another country. If you are not a U.S. citizen, more extensive restrictions apply.
Reporting Tips and Cautions
- Be prepared to give the date of any of the event you are reporting occurred.
- Have your SSDI claim number ready, it will be on the Award Notice you received when your claim was approved. If you receive benefits based on your own work, your claim number will be the same as your Social Security number followed by the letters “HA.” If you receive benefits based on someone else’s work, your claim number will be the worker’s Social Security number followed by “H” and a letter that shows your relationship to the worker.
- Take reporting seriously. If you become overpaid because you did not a report an event, you will have to repay the excess money. Also, if the SSA learns that you purposely gave them incomplete or false information or purposely failed to report a change that caused you to be overpaid, your benefits could be stopped and a financial penalty imposed. You could even be charged with fraud.