What you must report to us
Please notify us promptly by phone, mail, or in person
whenever a change occurs that could affect your beneﬁts. We
explain the changes you must report to us on pages 11-17.
Family members receiving beneﬁts based on your work
also should report events that might affect their payments.
Information you give to another government agency may
be provided to Social Security by the other agency, but you
also must report the change directly to us.
NOTE: If we ﬁnd that you gave us false information on
purpose, your beneﬁts will be stopped. For the ﬁrst violation,
your beneﬁts will be stopped for six months; for the second
violation, 12 months; and for the third, 24 months. Also, if
you don’t report a change, it may result in your being paid
too much. If you’re overpaid, you’ll have to repay the money.
Have your claim number handy when you report a
change. If you receive beneﬁts based on your own work,
your claim number is the same as your Social Security
number followed by the letters “HA.” If you receive
beneﬁts on someone else’s work, your claim number will
be the other person’s Social Security number followed by a
different letter. The award notice you received when your
beneﬁts started shows your claim number. You also should
be prepared to give the date of the change, and, if different,
the name of the person about whom the report is made.
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. Please let us
know how many hours you expect to work, and when
your work starts or stops. If you still have a qualifying
disability, you’ll be eligible for a trial work period, and you
can continue receiving beneﬁts for up to nine months. Also,
tell us if you have any special work expenses because of
your disability (such as specialized equipment, a wheelchair
or even prescription drugs), or if there’s any change in the
amount of those expenses.
If you receive other 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
• Your beneﬁts change or stop.
If you’re offered services under the Ticket to
Social Security may send you a “ticket” that you can
use to get services to help you go to work or earn more
money. You may take the “ticket” to your state vocational
rehabilitation agency or to an employment network of your
choice. Employment networks are private organizations
that have agreed to work with Social Security to provide
employment services to beneﬁciaries with disabilities. Your
participation in the Ticket to Work program is voluntary,
and we provide the services to you at no cost. For more
information, ask us for a copy of Your Ticket to Work
(Publication No. 05-10061).
If you move
When you plan to move, tell us your new address and
phone number as soon as you know them. Also, please
let us know the names of any family members who are
getting beneﬁts and who are moving with you. Even if you
receive your beneﬁts by direct deposit, we must have your
correct address so we can send letters and other important
information to you. Your beneﬁts will be stopped if we’re
unable to contact you. You can change your address at our
Be sure you also ﬁle a change of address with your
If you change direct deposit accounts
If you change ﬁnancial institutions, or open a new
account, be sure to say that you want to sign up for direct
deposit. You also can change your direct deposit online if
you have a personal identiﬁcation number and a password.
Or, we can change your direct deposit information over
the telephone. Have your new and old bank account
numbers handy when you call us. They’ll be printed on
your personal checks or account statements. Changing this
information takes us about 30-60 days. Don’t close your old
account until you make sure your Social Security beneﬁts
are being deposited into the new account.
If you’re unable to manage your beneﬁts
Sometimes people are unable to manage their money.
When this happens, Social Security should be notiﬁed. We
can arrange to send beneﬁts to a relative or other person
who agrees to use the money to take care of the person
for whom the beneﬁts are paid. We call the person who
manages someone else’s beneﬁts a “representative payee.”
For more information, ask for A Guide for Representative
Payees (Publication No. 05-10076).
NOTE: People who have “power of attorney” for
someone don’t automatically qualify to be the person’s
If you get a pension from work not covered by
If you start receiving a pension from a job for which you
didn’t 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.
If you get married or divorced
If you get married or divorced, your Social Security
beneﬁts may be affected, depending on the kind of beneﬁts
If your beneﬁts are stopped because of marriage or
remarriage, they may be started again if the marriage ends.
If you get:
Your own disability beneﬁts
Your beneﬁts will continue.
Your beneﬁts will continue if you
get divorced, and you are age 62
or over, unless you were married
less than 10 years.
Disabled widow’s or widower’s
beneﬁts (including disabled
divorced widow’s and
Your beneﬁts will continue if
you remarry when you are age 50
Any other kind of beneﬁts
Generally, your beneﬁts will
stop when you get married. Your
beneﬁts may be started again if
the marriage ends.
If you change your name
If you change your name — by marriage, divorce or court
order — you need to tell us right away. If you don’t give us
this information, your beneﬁts will be issued under your
old name and, if you have direct deposit, payments may not
reach your account. If you receive checks, you may not be
able to cash them if your identiﬁcation is different from the
name on your check.
If you care for a child who receives beneﬁts
If you receive beneﬁts because you are caring for a
disabled worker’s child who is younger than age 16 or
disabled, you should notify us right away if the child leaves
your care. You must give us the name and address of the
person with whom the child is living.
A temporary separation may not affect your beneﬁts if
you continue to have parental control over the child, but
your beneﬁts will stop if you no longer have responsibility
for the child. If the child returns to your care, we can start
sending your beneﬁts to you again.
Your beneﬁts usually stop when the youngest, unmarried
child in your care reaches age 16, unless the child is disabled.
If you become a parent after entitlement
If you become the parent of a child after entitlement
(including an adopted child) let us know so that we may
determine if the child qualiﬁes for beneﬁts.
If a child receiving beneﬁts is adopted
When a child who is receiving beneﬁts is adopted by
someone else, let us know his or her new name, the date
of the adoption decree, and the adopting parent’s name and
address. The adoption will not cause the child’s beneﬁts
If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest
You must tell us if you have an outstanding arrest
warrant for any of the following felony offenses:
• Flight to avoid prosecution or conﬁnement;
• Escape from custody; and
You can’t receive regular disability beneﬁts, or any
underpayments you may be due, for any month in which
there is an outstanding arrest warrant for any of these
If you’re convicted of a crime
Tell Social Security right away if you’re convicted of a
crime. Regular disability beneﬁts, or any underpayments
that may be due, aren’t paid for the months a person is
conﬁned for a crime, but any family members who are
eligible for beneﬁts based on that person’s work may
continue to receive beneﬁts.
Monthly beneﬁts or any underpayments that may be
due usually aren’t paid to someone who commits a crime,
and who is conﬁned to an institution by court order and at
public expense. This applies if the person has been found:
• Not guilty by reason of insanity or similar factors
(such as mental disease, mental defect, or mental
• Incompetent to stand trial.
If you violate a condition of parole or probation
You must tell us if you’re violating a condition of
your probation or parole imposed under federal or state
law. You can’t receive regular disability beneﬁts or any
underpayment that may be due for any month in which you
violate a condition of your probation or parole.
If you leave the United States
If you’re a US citizen, you can travel to or live in most
foreign countries without affecting your Social Security
beneﬁts. There are, however, a few countries where we
can’t send Social Security payments. These countries
are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Cambodia, Georgia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Let us know if you plan to go outside the United States
for a trip that lasts 30 days or more. Tell us the name of
the country or countries you plan to visit and the date you
expect to leave the United States.
We will send you special reporting instructions and tell
you how to arrange for your beneﬁts while you’re away. Be
sure to notify us when you return to the United States.
If you aren’t a US citizen, and you return to live in
the United States, you must provide evidence of your
noncitizen status to continue receiving beneﬁts. If you
work outside the United States, different rules apply in
determining whether you can get your beneﬁts.
For more information, ask any Social Security ofﬁce for a
copy of Your Payments While You are Outside the United
States (Publication No. 05-10137).
If your citizenship status changes
If you aren’t a U.S. citizen, let us know if you become
a U.S. citizen or if your noncitizen status changes. If your
immigration status expires, you must give us new evidence
that shows you continue to be in the United States lawfully.
If a beneﬁciary dies
Let us know if a person receiving Social Security beneﬁts
dies. Beneﬁts aren’t payable for the month of death. That
means if the person died any time in July, for example,
the check received in August (which is payment for July)
must be returned. If direct deposit is used, also notify the
ﬁnancial institution of the death as soon as possible so it
can return any payments received after death.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security
survivors beneﬁts when a person getting disability
If you’re receiving Social Security and Railroad
If you’re receiving both Social Security and Railroad
Retirement beneﬁts based on your spouse’s work, and your
spouse dies, you must tell us immediately. You’ll no longer
be eligible to receive both beneﬁts. You’ll be notiﬁed which
survivor beneﬁt you’ll receive.
Beneﬁts for children
If you’re receiving beneﬁts on behalf of a child, there
are important things you should know about his or
When a child reaches age 18
A child’s beneﬁts stop with the month before the child
reaches age 18, unless the child is disabled or is a full-time
elementary or secondary school student and unmarried.
About three months before the child’s 18th birthday, you’ll
get a letter explaining how beneﬁts can continue. We’ll also
send a letter to the child and a student form.
If your child’s beneﬁts stopped at age 18, they can start
again if he or she becomes disabled before reaching age 22
or if he or she becomes a full-time elementary or secondary
school student before reaching age 19. The student needs to
contact us to reapply for beneﬁts.
If your 18-year-old child is still in school
Your child can receive beneﬁts until age 19 if he or she
continues to be a full-time elementary or secondary school
student. When your child’s 19th birthday occurs during a
school term, beneﬁts usually can continue until completion
of the term, or for two months following the 19th birthday,
whichever comes ﬁrst.
You should tell us immediately if your child marries,
is convicted of a crime, drops out of school, changes from
full-time to part-time attendance, is expelled, suspended, or
changes schools. You should also tell us if your child has an
employer who is paying for your child to attend school.
In general, a student can keep receiving beneﬁts during a
vacation period of four months or less if he or she plans to
go back to school full time at the end of the vacation.
If your child is disabled
Your child can continue to receive beneﬁts after age 18
if he or she has a disability that begins before age 22. Your
child also may qualify for SSI disability beneﬁts. Contact us
for more information.
If you have a stepchild and get divorced
If you have a stepchild who is getting beneﬁts based on
your work, and you divorce the child’s parent, you must tell
us as soon as the divorce becomes ﬁnal. Your stepchild’s
beneﬁt will stop the month after the divorce becomes ﬁnal.
Reviewing your medical condition
All people receiving disability beneﬁts must have their
medical conditions reviewed from time to time. Your
beneﬁts will continue unless there is strong proof that your
condition has improved medically and that you’re able to
return to work.
Frequency of reviews
How often your medical condition is reviewed depends
on how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve.
Your award notice tells you when you can expect your ﬁrst
• Medical improvement expected — If your condition is
expected to improve within a speciﬁc time, your ﬁrst
review will be six to 18 months after you started getting
• Improvement possible — If improvement in your medical
condition is possible, we’ll review your case about every
• Improvement not expected — If your medical condition
is unlikely to improve, we’ll review your case about
every ﬁve to seven years.
What happens during a review?
We’ll send a letter to you telling you that we’re
conducting a review. Soon after that, someone from your
local Social Security ofﬁce will contact you to explain the
review process and your appeal rights. The Social Security
representative will ask you to provide information about
your medical treatment and any work that you may have
A team consisting of a disability examiner and a doctor
will review your ﬁle and request your medical reports. You
may be asked to have a special examination. We’ll pay for
the examination and some of your transportation costs.
When a decision is made, we’ll send a letter to you. If
we decide that you still have a qualifying disability, your
beneﬁts will continue.
If we decide you no longer have a qualifying disability,
and you disagree, you can ﬁle an appeal. If you decide not
to appeal the decision, your beneﬁts will stop three months
after we decide that your disability ended.
For more information, ask us for a copy of Your Right
to Question the Decision to Stop Your Disability Beneﬁts
(Publication No. 05-10090).
Helping you return to work
After you start receiving disability beneﬁts, you may
want to try working again. There are special rules,
called work incentives, that can help you keep your cash
beneﬁts and Medicare while you test your ability to
work. For more information about the ways we can help
you return to work, ask for Working While Disabled—
How We Can Help (Publication No. 05-10095). Detailed
information about work incentives can be found in our
Red Book (Publication No. 64-030). Also visit our website,
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested