Q. Can Social Security suspend your disability benefits without offering a reinstatement option? What if you were suspended for working and are no longer working, should that be reinstated? And finally, if you owe an overpayment, can you arrange to pay it back?
A. It gets complicated.
Social Security can suspend your benefits for several reasons.
If they didn’t have a known address or if benefits were returned as undeliverable, benefits would cease, said Jody D’Agostini, certified financial planner at Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.
Other causes would be if you applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because of a disability and the disability has improved or no longer exists, she said.
As you noted, the most common reason for this to cease is that the beneficiary has returned to work.
“When the worker retires, the benefit would change from SSDI to their retirement benefit. For 2022, if you earn more than $1,350 per month, you exceed the amount you can earn while still qualifying,” she said.
For SSI – Supplemental Security Income – which is a need-based or low-income program, if you earn over the limit, which for 2022 is $841 per month or if you have assets totaling more than $2,000 $, then your SSI benefit can be terminated, D’Agostini mentioned.
Some sources that have created this problem are pensions or alimony, he said.
Social Security regularly reviews cases to see if the medical condition that warranted the benefit still exists. This usually happens every three to seven years, she said.
“You can get benefits reinstated within five years of stopping your benefits,” she said. “You will need to provide updated medical and income information depending on the benefit. For SSI, reintegration usually takes about three months.
As for the overpayment, you can request a waiver if you can’t afford to pay it back, D’Agostini said.
“In many cases, they will forgive the overpayment if filed in a timely manner,” she said. “Social Security cannot deduct the overpayment from you until they serve you with written notice. The form is SSA-632.
But note that it may take the overpayment of any federal tax refunds or future Social Security payments, she said.
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Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboos column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. To find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.comit’s weekly e-newsletter.