Report Changes

If your situation changes, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Adult Public Assistance (APA) benefits may change. That’s why you need to report changes in your situation immediately to each program.

Both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Alaska Division of Public Assistance (DPA) also check on your situation from time to time to make sure there have been no changes.

Note: If you do not report changes, you might have to pay back the benefits you get.

Changes in Your Situation and Your Benefits

How much you get in SSI and APA benefits depends on your:

If any of these things change, even slightly, you must:

  1. Report the change to Social Security. For SSI, report changes from one month within the first 6 days of the following month to avoid an overpayment.
  2. Report the change to your local Division of Public Assistance (DPA) office. For APA, report changes within 10 days after the change happened.

Tip: Some people report their earned income every month, even when the amount doesn’t change. For SSI, you can even sign up to get a reminder text or email each month, so that you won't forget to report.

Ways to report your income to Social Security

For SSI, you can report changes:

When you report, you need to have documentation, such as a letter explaining any changes and copies of your pay stubs. If you have questions about the best way to report your earnings, talk to your local Social Security office or talk to a benefits planner.

Note: If you also get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must report your income separately for SSI and SSDI. Ask your Social Security claims representative how you should report income for SSDI.

When SSA and DPA Check to See if Your Situation Has Changed

If you get SSI, Social Security sometimes does two different types of review of your situation to make sure you still qualify for SSI benefits and that you’re getting the right benefits amount:

  • A redetermination means Social Security looks at your income, resources, marital status, and living arrangements. A redetermination can be done in person, by phone, or by mail. You may need to provide documentation of your situation. Social Security may do a redetermination every 1 – 6 years.
    • During a redetermination, Social Security does not ask about your medical condition.
  • A medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) means Social Security looks at your medical condition to make sure you still have a disability. You may need to provide medical records or other information. Social Security may do a medical CDR every 1.5 – 7 years.

Respond right away and do everything Social Security needs you to do, otherwise your SSI payments could be stopped. If you have trouble filling out a form or getting documentation, ask for help at your local Social Security office.

For APA, the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) does annual reviews to make sure you still qualify for benefits. If DPA asks for any information for a review, make sure you submit what they have requested.

Overpayments

If Social Security or the Alaska Division of Public Assistance decides that they paid you more in benefits than they should have, they send you a letter telling you that they’ve made an overpayment and explaining how much money you must pay back.

Deal with an overpayment notice right away. The overpayment letter asks for the money to be returned within 30 days, but Social Security and DPA are willing to work out reasonable monthly payment plans with you. Contact these agencies immediately to talk about your options.

A common reason people get overpayments is that they don’t report changes in their earnings, unearned income, living situation, or marital status. You could also be overpaid if you keep getting SSI and APA benefits after your resources go over the resource limit or when you don’t have a disability anymore. If you do not report changes, then the overpayment is your fault and you have to pay the money back.

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 for SSI, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) and ask for Form SSA-632. For waivers of APA overpayments, talk to your Division of Public Assistance (DPA) office.

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:

  • For SSI: If you appeal within 10 days of the date the notice was sent, you might keep getting your SSI benefits until Social Security decides on the appeal.
  • For APA: Contact your Division of Public Assistance (DPA) office and ask for a fair hearing using the Fair Hearing Request form. (This form is also located on the back of any benefits notice DPA sends you.) You have to ask for a fair hearing within 30 days.
    • Note: When you ask for a fair hearing, you can also ask to keep getting APA benefits until the fair hearing is decided. If the fair hearing upholds DPA’s original decision, you have to pay back these benefits.

Learn more about appeals.