Just because you qualified for Social Security Disability benefits initially, that doesn’t mean you will be qualified for life. As your situation changes, you could become ineligible for benefits, and it is up to you to report these changes to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible. Not doing so could be considered fraud, and the SSA could come after you for repayment of benefits and more. In addition, not keeping the SSA apprised of address or name changes could delay much-needed payments. Find out what the SSA is expecting you to report to them.
Changes That You Must Report to the SSA If You Receive Benefits
The SSA needs updated information in order to keep paying your benefits, but they also want to know about changes that could affect your eligibility. If you are receiving benefits as a family member of a disabled person, you also have to keep the SSA informed of changes. Specifically, the SSA should be informed of:
- Work. If you start earning income—even if it’s through self-employment or a part-time job—you have to tell the SSA how many hours you expect to work and when the job starts and stops. This is true, regardless of how little money you might be making.
- Other benefits. Applying for another disability program, such as workers’ comp, must also be reported to the SSA. If you receive other benefits, your Social Security benefits may be reduced.
- New address. Even if you receive your benefits by direct deposit, you must inform the SSA if you move. They need to have your correct physical address on file.
- Direct deposit account. If you want your benefits to be directly deposited into a new bank account, you must inform the SSA and allow 30-60 days for the change to occur. Do not close your original account until you have received a deposit in the new account.
- Need for a representative payee. Older people sometimes reach the point where they can no longer manage their own benefits. When this happens, they can appoint a representative payee to receive the payments on their behalf.
- Pension. If you start receiving a pension from a job for which you did not pay Social Security tax, such as with a government agency or nonprofit organization, you will have to report this income to the SSA, and your benefits could be reduced.
- Marital status. Let the SSA know if you get married or divorced. This could affect the amount of your payments and dependent benefits.
- Caring for a child who receives benefits. If you are caring for a child under the age of 16 who gets Social Security benefits, you are required to notify the SSA if that child is adopted by another family or leaves your care permanently.
- Having a child. Becoming the parent of a child after your initial entitlement is determined—whether by birth or adoption—could change the amount of your benefit, so you should inform the SSA as soon as possible.
- Outstanding warrant or criminal conviction. You cannot receive disability for any month in which there is an outstanding arrest warrant for certain felonies or for which you are incarcerated. The SSA must be informed of these situations.
- Leaving the United States. If you are planning to move to another country or your U.S. citizenship status changes, you must inform the SSA. This could change your eligibility for benefits.
- Death of a beneficiary. The SSA must be notified when a beneficiary dies. Any payments received after the month in which the beneficiary dies will have to be returned. If you are a dependent of a beneficiary, you may be eligible for survivor benefits.
It is important that you read correspondence from the Social Security Administration and that you reply promptly to their requests for information.
Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help You Avoid a Mistake
The Social Security Disability attorneys in our Indianapolis office can help you with your initial application and can help you maintain your benefits afterward. As soon as you are considering applying for disability benefits in Indiana, contact Keller & Keller.