Report Changes

For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must tell Social Security right away if:

  • You start or stop work
  • You reported your work, but your duties, hours, or pay change; or
  • You start paying expenses for work because of your disability.

In addition to reporting your earnings, you also need to let Social Security know if your address changes, if you get any other disability benefits, such as Workers’ Compensation, or if you use any SSDI deductions when figuring out your income. If you don’t report your earnings, you risk getting an overpayment and you may have to pay back those benefits to Social Security.

To report changes, contact your local Social Security office and ask how and when you should report your earnings. You may be able to report:

Note: If you get SSDI benefits and also get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must report your income to SSDI and SSI separately. Learn more about SSI income reporting in DB101's SSI and APA article.

Get a binder for your records

Social Security periodically verifies your situation. That’s why you should get a binder and keep copies of all your records from the last five years in it, including:

Take your binder with you whenever you go to a Social Security office, and take notes in it every time you communicate with Social Security.

When Social Security Checks to See if Your Situation Has Changed

Occasionally, Social Security does two different types of Continuing Disability Review (CDR) to make sure you still qualify for SSDI benefits:

  • A work CDR means Social Security looks at your earnings history. They check things like whether you have earned more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level and whether you have documented work incentives, such as IRWEs. Have records of your work, such as pay stubs, for five or more years, in case Social Security asks to see them.
  • A medical CDR means Social Security looks at your medical condition to make sure you still have a disability. You may need to share medical records or other information.

If Social Security contacts you, make sure to read everything they send you and follow any instructions they give. If you have trouble filling out a form or getting documentation, ask for help at your local Social Security office or talk to a benefits planner.

Overpayments

Social Security may send you SSDI benefits even when you shouldn't be getting any. That's called an overpayment. If there’s an overpayment, Social Security sends you a letter telling you that they made an overpayment and explaining how much money you must pay back.

By reporting changes in your earned income to your local Social Security office, you can lower the odds of an overpayment, but even so, Social Security might overpay you.

Deal with an overpayment notice right away. The overpayment letter asks for the money to be returned within 30 days, but Social Security is willing to work out a reasonable monthly payment plan with you. Contact Social Security immediately to talk about your options. If you think Social Security may have sent you an overpayment, talk to a benefits planner so you can get expert advice for your situation.

If you think an overpayment wasn’t your fault and you can’t pay it back because you need the money to pay for living expenses, you can ask for a waiver of the overpayment. If the waiver is granted, you don’t have to repay the overpayment. To get the waiver form, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) and ask for Form SSA-632.

Appealing an overpayment or change in benefits

If you think the amount of your overpayment is incorrect or that you do not have any overpayment, you have the right to appeal. Appeal within 30 days of the date the notice was sent to avoid having your benefits withheld while your appeal is reviewed.

Learn more about appeals.