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) also checks 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, you must:

  1. Report the change to Social Security. For SSI, report changes from one month within the first 6 days of the following month to avoid an overpayment. Example: If you move in June, you need to tell Social Security by July 6.
  2. Report the change to your local county human services agency in person, by phone, or by email. You have 10 days to report the change. Example: If you start a job on March 12, you need to tell the county by March 22.

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:

When you report, you need to have documentation, like a letter explaining any changes and copies of your pay stubs. If you have questions about the best way to report your earnings, talk to your local Social Security office or a Benefits Planner.

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.

Social Security Reviews

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

  • A redetermination means Social Security looks at your income, resources, living arrangements, and if you're married. A redetermination can be in person, by phone, or by mail. You may need to give proof 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 looks at your medical condition to make sure you still have a disability. You may need to give them medical records or other information. Social Security may do a medical CDR every 1.5 – 7 years.

Respond right away and do what Social Security asks you to do, otherwise your SSI payments could stop. If you have trouble filling out a form or getting documentation, ask for help at your local Social Security office or talk to a Benefits Planner.

Overpayments

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

Deal with an overpayment notice right away. The overpayment letter asks for the money to be returned within 30 days, but you can ask Social Security is willing to work out a monthly payment plan with you if you ask. Call Social Security right away 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, the overpayment is your fault and you 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 Social Security gives you a waiver, you don’t have to repay the overpayment. To get the form you need to ask for a waiver, 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 can appeal. If you appeal within 10 days of the date the notice was sent, you might keep getting your SSI benefits until Social Security makes a decision.

Learn more about appeals.