What information am I supposed to report to Social Security?

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By: Lesly Lopez

 

The answer depends on the type of benefits you receive. The SSI program involves a lot more reporting than the Social Security Title II disability programs like SSDI because the SSI program has strict rules about how much income and resources beneficiaries can have. Below is a chart that provides general direction about what beneficiaries need to report to Social Security. Keep in mind that for the SSI program, these reporting requirements apply not only to the SSI eligible individual, but also to the parents of SSI recipients under 18 and to the spouses of SSI eligible individuals.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Title II Disability Programs(SSDI, CDB, DWB)
1. Unearned income including things like other Social Security payments, child support payments, or any other cash received that is not earned income.

2. Any gross wages/earnings and net earnings from self-employment. This includes in-kind items received in lieu of wages (like room and board).

3. In-kind support and maintenance received from others. This includes any assistance with food and shelter provided by another person.

4. Change of address.

5. Changes in living arrangements.

6. Changes in marital status.

7. Resources or assets received that cause

8. Use of any specific work incentives.

1. Any gross wages/earnings and net earnings from self-employment. This includes in-kind items received in lieu of wages (like room and board).

2. Changes in marital status (only applies to CDB and DWB – not SSDI).

3. Change of address.

4. Receipt of any public disability benefits such as Worker’s Compensation.

5. Use of any specific work incentives.

** Unearned income and resources are not considered by the Title II disability programs, thus are not required to be reported to Social Security.

Theoretically, there are many ways to report information to Social Security, but some methods are more reliable than others. Tips for reporting relevant information include:

  1. SSI recipients may report earned income using a special toll free line by calling 1-866-772-0953. Wages can be reported using this method any day during the current month, but report during the first 6 days of each month to prevent improper payment of SSI benefits. If you miss reporting wages during the first 6 days of the month, you can report the wages directly to your local Social Security office. You cannot use this line to report anything except wages and if you use work incentives such as Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs), you cannot use the Telephone Wage Reporting System.
  2. SSI Recipients may also use a new mobile application for monthly wage reporting. The SSI Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) application can be downloaded and installed free on an Apple or Android mobile device. It works the same as the telephone reporting system, except the individual submits wage data by entering it on the application screens instead of using the phone. Always follow-up phone or mobile application reporting with written wage information sent to the local Social Security Field Office. While the automated wage reporting system is a convenient way for some SSI recipients to report wages, it is still important to provide written verification of wages.
  3. SSI recipients who need to report something other than wages, or who use work incentives, have to report their information directly to the local Social Security Field Office. You may submit the information in writing through the mail or visit the Field Office in person.
  4. Title II disability beneficiaries (SSDI, CDB, DWB) should NOT report any essential information by phone, but rather should either mail written information to the local Field Office, or visit the local Field Office in person.
  5. Keep a copy of all correspondence you send to or receive from Social Security!
  6. When reporting employment initially, or employment changes, always send a letter describing the critical information Social Security needs. This includes: Your name, address, phone number and Social Security Number, Type of Social Security benefits you are receiving,  Name, address and phone number of employing company, Name of direct supervisor, Date of hire/date of termination, Pay rate and average number of hours worked per week, Pay dates, Job title.
  7. After the initial letter reporting employment or an employment change, keep all of your pay stubs. Local Social Security Field Offices vary in terms of how frequently they want you to mail in your pay stubs to verify your earnings. Check with your Claims Representative BEFORE you start mailing in pays stubs. Be sure to keep a copy of the pay stubs before you mail them in!
  8. SSI recipients generally have to report earnings more frequently than Title II beneficiaries. SSI recipients should submit their pay stubs to the local Social Security office by the 10th day of the month after the month in which the wages were paid. Some Field Offices may ask you to mail pay stubs less often. If you don’t report each month, make sure your estimated earnings are correct so you will not be overpaid.
  1. Do Not assume that the check you receive from Social Security is correct and has had wages accounted for. You need to know what your check should be and watch to make sure adjustments are made.

 

  1. If you receive both SSI and a Title II disability benefit, make sure both programs are aware that you are working. Your report of earnings receipt should indicate both benefits. If your receipt does not mention both benefits, contact your local office immediately.

 

  1. If you are getting checks or direct deposits that you think you may not entitled to – do NOT spend them! Deposit them in the bank while you work with Social Security to get the record updated.
  1. If you are self-employed, you need to report that to Social Security – even if you are not making a profit. Be sure to file your taxes promptly with the IRS and send a copy of your tax returns to Social Security. Get assistance from your local WIPA project to make sure you are keeping proper records.
  1. Keep receipts for all of the specific work incentives you are claiming. SSI recipients should submit receipts during the annual redetermination. Title II beneficiaries should submit receipts when a work CDR is being conducted.

Reference:

What information am I supposed to report to Social Security? (2015, July 9) retrieve from http://www.vcu-ntc.org/resources/WIPA_OtherResources/Reporting%20Tips%20for%20Beneficiaries%202015.pdf

Work incentives Protecting Health Coverage for People with Disabilities

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By: Claudia Luna

Extended Medicare Coverage for Working People with Disabilities For beneficiaries receiving SSDI

As long as your disabling condition still meets our rules, you can keep your Medicare coverage for at least 8 ½ years after you return to work. (The 8 ½ years includes your nine month trial work Period)
Your Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) coverage is premium-free. Your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) coverage will also continue. You or a third party (if applicable) will continue to pay for Part B. If your Social Security Disability Insurance cash benefits stop due to your work, you or a third party (if applicable) will be billed every 3 months for your medical insurance premiums. If you are receiving cash benefits, your medical insurance premiums will be deducted monthly from your check.


Continued Medicaid Eligibility (Section 1619(B)) For beneficiaries receiving SSI

One of the biggest concerns SSI beneficiaries have about going to work is the possibility of losing Medicaid coverage. Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act provides some protection for these beneficiaries. To qualify for continuing Medicaid coverage, a person must

  • Have been eligible for an SSI cash payment for at least 1 month;
  • Meet the disability requirement; 
  • Meet all other non-disability SSI requirements; 
  • Need Medicaid benefits to continue to work; and
  • Have gross earnings that are insufficient to replace SSI, Medicaid and publicly funded attendant care services.

This means that SSI beneficiaries who have earnings too high for a SSI cash payment may be eligible for Medicaid if they meet the above requirements. SSA uses a threshold amount to measure whether a person’s earnings are high enough to replace his/her SSI and Medicaid benefits. This threshold is based on the:

  • amount of earnings which would cause SSI cash payments to stop in the person’s State; and
  • Average Medicaid expenses in that State.

If a SSI beneficiary has gross earnings higher than the threshold amount for his/her State, SSA can figure an individual threshold amount if that person has:

  • Impairment-related work expenses; or
  • Blind work expenses; or
  • A plan to achieve self-support; or
  • Personal attendant whose fees are publicly funded; or
  • Medical expenses above the average State amount.

The state of Florida 2015 annual threshold amounts for disabled and blind beneficiaries is $30,594

If you are a SSI or SSDI beneficiary and needs an individualized analysis of your situation please contact the Community Work Incentives Coordinator or benefits Planner in your area. Please check the SSA Website for more details: http://choosework.net

ABLE Act of 2013: Update

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By: Aaron Carter Batesportrait of Aaron Bates

On Friday, September 19th, Federal lawmakers announced that a deal was reached to permit The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (S. 313/H.R.647) to move forward in Congress. The ABLE Act was introduced in 2013 and, with a model based on IRC 529 college savings plans, aims to amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code to allow for creation of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.

The ABLE Act is critical to further enabling independent, community-based living while eschewing institutionalized care. Typically, the amount of resources one may have access to on a monthly basis cannot exceed $1,100-$2,000 for individuals and $2,000-$3,000 for couples (Please check your State’s specific guidelines. Medicaid income limits also vary by state.  The range for individuals is typically $600-$800 and $1,000-$1,350 for couples.   Some states use a formula based on the individual’s federal SSI benefit level.  In these instances, the eligibility limits are usually three times the SSI benefit.).  Anything exceeding these thresholds, disqualifies an individual with a disability from benefits.

The ABLE Act is designed to lessen the impact of the financial burdens and thresholds associated with being disabled by permitting individuals with disabilities to have tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, employment, and/or other sources. The Act also contains Medicaid fraud protection against abuse and a Medicaid pay-back provision when the individual passes away. It will eliminate barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s eligibility for any federal benefits program, such as Medicaid or SSI.

On Friday, the Act’s chief sponsors and leaders of the Senate’s Committee on Finance said in a joint statement that they expect the legislation to be considered when Congress returns to Washington in November. “We are committed to working with our House colleagues to ensure this legislation will be passed in a bipartisan, bicameral manner and sent to the president’s desk in the lame duck session,” read the statement from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

The ABLE Act has been under consideration in Congress since 2006 and is sponsored by more than half the members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill passed a House committee in July, but lawmakers indicated they would need to reach an agreement on how to pay for the measure before it would be put up for a floor vote. The deal reached last week will “serve as the foundation for final passage,” the senators said.

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