Being granted disability benefits can be a major relief, but it doesn't mean that you no longer have to worry about income. Social security disability benefits can be retracted and you can even be held liable for repayment if the Social Security Administration (SSA) thinks you are no longer qualified or defrauding the system. The following tips can keep you on the right side of the SSA so your benefits aren't stopped and you aren't charged with fraud.
Tip #1: Be Honest About Any New Income
If you continue to work and earn an income after being put onto benefits, you will need to keep the SSA fully apprised about the situation. This includes the hours that you work, the type of work it is, and your wages for said work. It's understandable that you may be worried that earning an income or doing a certain type of work may hurt your benefit amount, but trying to hide the income or being paid underneath the table is a worse option. You can speak with a social security attorney or advocate before taking on a new job to make sure it isn't likely to reflect poorly on your benefit amount.
Tip #2: Don't Jump The Border
It may seem tempting to move overseas, perhaps to a low cost of living country, so you can make the most of your benefits. The problem is that social security disability payments are only available to those residing within the United States. Maintaining a residence outside of the country, even for a small part of the year, and continuing to collect benefits is technically considered fraud. You can take a trip overseas, but you cannot live outside of the borders.
Tip #3: Report All Changes
There are several changes that can affect your benefits amount. For example, if you begin receiving disability from a workplace compensation plan, you need to report this change so your SSA benefits can be adjusted. You also need to report if you move, if you lose or gain dependents, if your disability prognosis changes, or if you are convicted of the crime. Failure to report any change can be taken as fraud, even if that wasn't your intention. It is always best to err on the side of caution and report anything that you think may pertain to your benefit amount. If you aren't sure if something should be reported, talk to an attorney or advocate. They can provide guidance in line with current regulations.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Morrison & Murff.