Social Security: When To Inform the SSA of Life Changes

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If something big happens in your life, it could affect your Social Security benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, you have a legal responsibility to report changes no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred. Certain life changes could affect your eligibility for disability, retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or it could affect your benefit amount.

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The SSA must be notified if any of these common life changes occur:

  • You moved.
  • You recently married or divorced.
  • You changed your name.
  • You adopted a child.
  • You’re no longer caring for a child who receives benefits.
  • If you are a non-citizen and your status changes.
  • If you start getting a pension from work not covered by Social Security.
  • If you leave the United States for more than 30 days.
  • If you become unable to manage your funds.
  • If you are convicted of a criminal offense.
  • If the beneficiary dies.
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Any changes could mean you’re due additional benefits or you may have to pay back some of those benefits. If you fail to report a change in a timely manner, a penalty may be applied that will reduce your monthly benefit amount. Failure to report changes or intentionally making a false statement could result in SSI, disability and retirement benefits being withheld.

The SSA may also impose a sanction against payments. The first sanction is a loss of payments for six months and additional sanctions are for 12 and 24 months.

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You can report any changes to the SSA online at socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you’re deaf or hearing impaired. You can also mail information to your local Social Security office or visit in person. If you need to change your address or direct deposit information, you can do so through your mySocialSecurity account.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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