Social Security: Keep us in the loop to help decrease improper payments |

Social Security: Keep us in the loop to help decrease improper payments

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefit payments, it is important to notify us promptly – either in person, by phone, or by mail – whenever a change occurs that could affect your benefits. This is especially true when reporting other income. Errors occur when you fail to report certain types of income timely. If you do not report these amounts, you may have to repay a large part of your benefits.

If you work while receiving disability payments: You should tell us if you take a job or become self-employed, no matter how little you earn. There are some work incentives that may allow you to keep your disability payments for a while. If your benefits stop because of your work, we can quickly start them again if your income drops or if you stop working.

Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.

If you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again – you may not have to file a new application.

Work incentives include:

• Continued monthly benefits for a time while you work;

• Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and

• Help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

The rules are different under Social Security and SSI. But, whether you are receiving Social Security or SSI, it is important to let us know promptly when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits.

Also, tell us if you have any special work expenses because of your disability (such as specialized equipment, a wheelchair or even some prescription drugs) or if there is any change in expenses.

If you receive other types of disability benefits: Social Security benefits for you and your family may be reduced if you also are eligible for workers’ compensation (including payments through the black lung program) or for disability benefits from certain federal, state, or local government programs. You must tell us if:

• You apply for another type of disability benefit;

• You receive another disability benefit or a lump-sum settlement; or

• Your benefits change or stop.

If you get a pension from work not covered by Social Security: If you start receiving a pension from a job for which you did not pay Social Security taxes – for example, from the federal civil service system, some state or local pension systems, nonprofit organizations, or a foreign government – your Social Security benefit may be reduced. Also, tell us if the amount of your pension changes.

So keep in mind that you must always keep Social Security informed of your changing situation. Many factors can affect your benefits.

kathy petersen is the public affairs specialist for south dakota and eastern wyoming. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at kathy. next week kathy discusses how social security supports veterans.