Report Changes

If your situation changes, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may change. That’s why you need to report changes in your situation immediately. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will also check every year or two to see if your situation has changed.

Note: If you do not report changes, you might have to pay back the SSI benefits you get to Social Security.

Changes in Your Situation and Your SSI Benefits

How much you get in SSI benefits depends on your:

If any of these things change, even slightly, you must:

  1. Report the change to Social Security; and
  2. Report the change to your local DES/Family Assistance Administration office.

Report changes from one month within the first 10 days of the following month to avoid an overpayment.

Tip: Some people report their earned income every month, even when the amount doesn’t change. You can sign up to get a reminder text or email each month, so that you won't forget to report.

Ways to report your income to Social Security

For SSI, you can report changes in your situation to Social Security:

When you report, you’ll need to have documentation, such as a letter explaining any changes and copies of your paystubs. If you have questions about the best way to report your earnings, talk to your local Social Security office or talk to a Work Incentive Consultant.

Note: If you also get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must report your income separately for SSI and SSDI. Ask your Social Security claims representative how you should report income for SSDI.

When Social Security Checks to See if Your Situation Has Changed

Occasionally, Social Security does two different types of review of your situation to make sure you still qualify for SSI benefits and that you’re getting the right benefits amount:

  • A redetermination means Social Security will look at your income, resources, marital status, and living arrangements. A redetermination can be done in person, by phone, or by mail. You may need to provide documentation of your situation. Social Security may do a redetermination every 1-6 years.
    • During a redetermination, Social Security does not ask about your medical condition.
  • A medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) means Social Security will look at your medical condition to make sure you still have a disability. You may need to provide medical records or other information. Social Security may do a medical CDR every 1.5-7 years.

Respond right away and do everything Social Security needs you to do, otherwise your SSI payments could be stopped. If you have trouble filling out a form or getting documentation, ask for help at your local Social Security office.

Overpayments

If Social Security decides that they paid you more in benefits than they should have, they’ll send you a letter telling you that they’ve made an overpayment and explaining how much money you must pay back.

Deal with an overpayment notice right away. The overpayment letter will ask for the money to be returned within 30 days, but Social Security is willing to work out a reasonable monthly payment plan with you. Contact Social Security immediately to talk about your options.

A common reason people get overpayments is that they didn’t report changes in their earnings, unearned income, living situation, or marital status. You could also be overpaid if you keep getting SSI benefits after your resources go over the SSI resource limit or when you don’t have a disability anymore. If you do not report changes, then the overpayment is your fault and you’ll have to pay the money back.

If you think an overpayment wasn’t your fault and you can’t pay it back because you need the money to pay for living expenses, you can ask for a waiver of the overpayment. If the waiver is granted, you won’t have to repay the overpayment. To get the waiver form, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) and ask for form SSA-632.

Appealing an overpayment or change in benefits

If you think the amount of your overpayment is incorrect or that you do not have any overpayment, you have the right to appeal. If you appeal within 10 days of the date the notice was sent, you might keep getting your SSI benefits until Social Security decides on the appeal.

Learn more about appeals.

Contact the Arizona Center for Disability Law for help with appeals.