Security: Make sure you get the right amount
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[June 10, 2011]
Social Security, our goal is to make sure you are paid the correct
amount, on time, every month.
Some things have made that
job easier over our more than 70 years of paying benefits, such as
direct deposit and electronic application systems. But some of the
factors that determine your payment amount still depend on good old
fashioned human intervention. And in some cases, getting the correct
payment amount depends on you.
You certainly don’t want to be
paid less than you’re entitled to receive. But what can be even more
difficult, in the long run, is to be overpaid — in which case you’ll
probably have to pay us back, cutting your payment down each month
until the debt is repaid.
What can cause an overpayment?
Sometimes an overpayment (or even an underpayment) occurs because
the person receiving benefits did not report a change to us.
For example, if you receive
Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and are under your
full retirement age and working, we usually ask you to estimate your
earnings for the year. If you realize your earnings will be higher
or lower than you estimated, let us know as soon as possible so we
can adjust your benefits.
If you receive Social Security
disability benefits, you should tell us if you take a job or become
self-employed, no matter how little you earn. You also need to
report if you begin receiving or have a change in any worker’s
compensation or other public disability benefits — or if your
disabling condition improves.
If you receive SSI, you need
to report any changes that can increase or reduce the amount of your
benefit, such as changes in address (even if you get electronic
payments), changes in living arrangements, income, or increased
savings that inch over the resource limit ($2,000 for an individual,
$3,000 for a couple). Any changes in your living arrangements,
income, or resources could change your SSI payment amount.
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Learn more about the kinds of
things you need to report when you receive Social Security
retirement and survivors benefits by reading our online publication:
Read about reporting
responsibilities for people receiving Social Security disability
Learn all about the sorts of
things to report when you receive SSI by reading over this online
If you’re underpaid in any
given month, once we verify the information that caused you to be
underpaid, we will send you any money you are due. If you’re
overpaid, read our online fact sheet to learn what happens next:
With your help and by
diligently reporting any applicable changes, we’ll achieve a goal we
can all agree on: paying you the right amount, on time, every month.
By Judith Bartels
Social Security District
Manager in Springfield, IL