As someone who gets benefits from the federal government, it is essential that you understand your rights and obligations around those benefits. Your responsibilities do not stop when you start receiving benefits.
Complying with specific requirements is necessary if you or your family members want to continue to receive SSI benefits, even after you start getting payments for the first time. Here, we set out what you need to know when you get supplemental security income.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal benefit program that the U.S. Treasury funds. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the program, but it is actually not funded with Social Security taxes.
This program assists disabled adults and children who have limited access to income and assets. You must be a citizen or national of the United States, and you must be over the age of 65 or be considered disabled to qualify for benefits. Your monthly income and marital status will affect your ability to receive benefits.
How Much Are SSI Payments?
When you first start to receive SSI payments, you will get a letter from the SSA that sets out how much your payments will be and when they start. The amount you can receive through SSI will vary based on your other sources of income and your living situation. The amount that you receive may not be the same every month.
As of 2021, the maximum you can receive is $794 per month for an individual or $1,191 per month for a couple. These amounts are adjusted annually to account for increases in the cost of living.
If you receive more money than you are entitled to receive, you are required to return it. You still have an obligation to return the extra funds even if it is not your fault that you received them.
How Will I Receive SSI Payments?
Your first SSI payment will arrive after the first full month that you applied for SSI benefits or became eligible. That means that there may be a wait of a few weeks after you are eligible before you see the first payment.
Every person who receives SSI benefits is required to sign up to receive electronic payments. You will receive these either through direct deposit to a bank account or an authorized card. If you choose to receive a card, called the Direct Express card program, then your monthly benefits will be automatically loaded on the card so that you can use it each month when you receive benefits.
Will the SSA Ever Change My Payments?
Your payments should adjust annually to address increases in the cost of living. In addition, the SSA will periodically review each case to see whether any changes have occurred that warrant changing the amount of benefits that you receive.
As part of that review, the SSA will request a lot of the same information you provided to start getting benefits. This information will often include:
A). Any income sources
B). Asset information
C). Living arrangements
D). Bank account information
You should also notify the SSA if there are any changes in your income or living situation when they occur.
What Kind of Changes Am I Required to Report to the SSA?
There is a wide variety of information that the SSA needs from you. In general, if you have any major life changes, you should check to see whether that change needs to be reported to the SSA.
Below are a few examples of situations that must be reported to the SSA when you are receiving SSI benefits.
1). Moving or changing your address
2). Starting or stopping work
3). Becoming a parent
4). Outstanding felony or arrest warrants
5). Becoming imprisoned or jailed
6). Changing your income or the income of your family members
7). Changing living expenses
8). Changing your name
9). Getting married
10). Becoming separated or divorced
11). Someone moves in to or out of your household
Some states require that additional changes are reported as well. Thankfully, Maryland does not have any additional special reporting requirements.
For family members: If the person receiving SSI benefits can no longer manage their own funds, you should notify the SSA as well.
What Happens If I Do Not Report Changes to the SSA?
If you do not report information as required, you may end up having to pay a penalty fee to the SSA. This penalty can range from $25 to $100, which is deducted directly from your SSI check. If you provide false information, payments can stop for a period of between six and 24 months.
Unsure of Your Ongoing Obligations After Receiving SSI? We Can Help!
Get help with your SSI benefits even after you start receiving them by speaking with our team. We can also help you or your family member apply for the first time as well. Call London Disability to learn more: 8777-978-3136.