If you receive any type of benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you are required to report any changes in your life that could impact your eligibility for those benefits. That’s true of retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
If you don’t report these changes within 10 days following the end of the month when the relevant change occurred, you could face fines, sanctions and possibly even prison time. Sanctions can include a loss of benefits for six months. The more sanctions you have, the longer you can be denied your benefits. The same is true if you make any false statements to the SSA.
If you were overpaid because you didn’t report a change that would lower your benefits, you’ll be required to pay back that overpayment. According to the SSA, even if you neglect to report the change within that designated period, you still need to report it.
Some changes, of course, may increase the amount of benefits to which you’re entitled. Therefore, you want to report those as soon as possible. The SSA lets beneficiaries report changes via a toll-free number.
You also want to report any changes to your address, even if you have your benefits directly deposited in to your bank account. Of course, if you do, you also want to report changes to that. You can report address and direct deposit-related changes online by accessing your Social Security account.
If you aren’t certain whether a change in your life needs to be reported to the SSA, it’s best to check with them. You want to err on the side of caution.
If you believe you’re being wrongly penalized by the SSA for not reporting a change in a timely manner or if you don’t believe you’re receiving the benefits you deserve, it may be wise to contact an attorney experienced in dealing with SSI benefits.