This article is about SSDI. If you are on SSI read this instead.
If you don’t know what you are on read this instead.
One: Social Security Believes You are No Longer Disabled
From time to time, Social Security will send you a disability review. If your review does not go well, don’t panic. Sometimes this is due to an administrative mistake (like lost mail or missing medical records). Sometimes there is something in your medical records you need to address or more information you need to provide: How to Appeal a Continuing Disability Review
Two: You are Working Over the Limit
If you are working while on disability, there are a few rules it may be helpful to know: How to Work Without (Too Much) Trouble
Three: Money is Being Taken Out for Student Loans
If you owe government student loans, Social Security may lower your monthly check. This is really the most tragic reason, because it is very easy to fix or avoid. Many poor people lose part of their Social Security check this way because they do not realize they have better options for student loans.
Four: You Have an Overpayment
Sometimes Social Security gives you too much money and then later wants the extra money back. If you can’t pay it back, they may lower your future checks. If the overpayment was not your fault, you have the right to appeal the decision and/or request an overpayment waiver. Appeals and waivers are almost always denied at first. Be persistent and keep appealing, it may take three or four different appeals. You do not need a lawyer, you can fill out the forms yourself.
Five: You Haven’t Signed Your Kids Up
If you are on SSDI, make sure to sign your kids up to receive benefits. Even if your kids do not live with you, they are still eligible. The parent of your children may be eligible as well. Contact your local office.
Six: You Haven’t Checked Your Earnings Record
If you are on SSDI, it’s a good idea to check your earnings record and see if any corrections need to be made. Sometimes things get left out or mistakes get made.
Seven: Your Check is Not Really Low
Most people get a disability check of at least $735 per month. In Michigan, New Jersey and Vermont it is $750-$800. In California, it is $895 (but you are not allowed to apply for food stamps). This is the amount for your part of the check only – don’t count if extra benefits were added for your kids.
If your part of check is already this amount, look to see if any of the first six things on this list apply to you. If not, go get a snack and take a nap. You don’t need to read the rest of this article.
Eight: You Never Applied for SSI
Some people only apply for SSDI and never realize they can get SSI too! You can call and request an SSI interview at any time. Depending on how much time has passed, they may just ask you financial questions and then sign you up automatically, or you may be required to start a new application and medical review.
Nine: You Got Turned Down for SSI
Some people apply for both SSI and SSDI but get turned down for the SSI. They do not realize that when time passes and their life changes, they can apply again. If your situation has changed now, you can apply again at any time. For example, if you got divorced, or separated, or stopped working, or if you had money in the bank that you spent, or any of the many other Ways to Make SSI Stop or Start. Depending on how much time has passed, they may just sign you up automatically, or you may be required to start a new application.
Ten: You Are On Both SSI & SSDI
If you are on both, there may be not problems with your SSDI check, but there could be some reasons your SSI is low.
Eleven: Money is Being Taken Out for Medicare Fees
This is another problem with an easy solution. Many poor people lose part of their Social Security checks because they do not realize there are Ways to Escape Medicare Fees
Twelve: You Gave Debt Collectors Permission to Take Money
If debt collectors are taking money directly from you bank account, this is because you have given them permission. You do not have to do this and in most cases you probably do not want to do this. Learn your options and rights for dealing with Credit Cards, Medical Bills, Student Loans & IRS
Social Security won’t tell you that you can do these things, but you can! You have to call and make an appointment and request them:
💛 If you first became disabled before the age of 22, when one of your parents dies, retires, or becomes disabled, you may be able to collect Social Security off your parent’s income record. In some cases: bigger check!
💛 If you are widowed, starting at age 50, you may be able to collect widow’s benefits. That is not a typo, if you are disabled it starts at age 50. In some cases: bigger check!
💛 If you are divorced from someone who died, starting at age 50, you may be able to collect widow’s benefits. In some cases: bigger check!
💛 If you are married or divorced, in some cases you may be able to collect spousal benefits instead of your own benefits. Don’t do this at age 62, wait and do it when you reach full retirement age. Social Security will usually do this for you automatically, but not always. In some cases: bigger check!