19220 Social Security Administration logo displayed on smartphone shutterstock 1413651146 - Special Needs Planning

Last Updated on February 23, 2023 by Tresi Weeks

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly payment issued to disabled children and adults who have income and resources that are under an amount set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Special needs planning can help you with your SSI details. 

There are many important factors that determine your eligibility for SSI. SSI recipients are responsible for reporting changes to the SSA when they happen. The following are three examples of what must be reported by SSI recipients.

Special Needs Planning: What Needs To Be Reported By SSI Recipient 

1. When You Experience Any Changes to Your Resources

If there are any changes to the resources you own, you must report them to the SSA. For SSI purposes, resources can include anything that essentially increases your wealth. Examples of what the SSA considers resources include:

  • Cash
  • The money you have in a checking or savings account
  • Certificates of Deposit (COD)
  • Savings bonds
  • Stocks

You must notify the SSA if any of the following changes occur to your resources:

  • If someone else pays for or helps you pay for living expenses, including housing, food, rent, mortgage, or utilities
  • If you are married and you — or your spouse — sell property, including vehicles, real estate, or personal property, you must report the profits from the sale
  • If you sold your home or any other property in order to qualify for SSI, you must report the sale to the SSA
  • If you have a joint bank account with another person, you must report the bank account to the SSA
  • If you have a child who gets SSI payments, you must tell the SSA about any property the child owns in their name (i.e., if the child inherits property)

2. When You Enter or Leave an Institution

You must report to Social Security each time you enter or leave an institution, such as a hospital or nursing home. To prevent an interruption in your benefits, you should inform the SSA as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days after entering the facility.

If you cannot report that you entered the facility — for example, you are hospitalized and cannot speak because of your illness or injury — a spouse, loved one, friend, or the facility can report the change to the SSA on your behalf.

An SSI recipient must inform the SSA when they enter and leave these facilities:

  • Jail or prison
  • Halfway house
  • Hospital
  • Nursing home, skilled nursing home, or intermediate care facility
  • Public emergency shelter
  • Residential institution

3. When the SSI Recipient Dies

After a person receiving SSI dies, someone should contact Social Security and inform the agency about the recipient’s death. The deceased person’s SSI check should not be cashed after their death.

If the recipient received their payments via direct deposit, then the money should not be removed from their bank account. Someone close to the recipient should notify the recipient’s bank, and the bank will return the payment to the SSA.

Are There Any Penalties for Failing to Report a Change?

Yes, there are potential consequences if you do not report a change to the SSA. You may lose your benefits if you report a change to the SSA later than 10 days after the end of the month when the change happened. In addition to potentially losing your benefits, you may also face a fine or imprisonment if you fail to report a change to the SSA.

How Do I Report a Change?

There are three ways to report a change regarding your resources to the Social Security Administration. You can report a change over the phone, via mail, or in person.

You can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to report a change to your resources. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can get assistance at 1-800-325-0778.

If you wish to write or visit your local Social Security office, find the closest office to your area. You can also speak to our team of special needs trust attorneys

If you require assistance with special needs trusts or special needs planning, or you find yourself needing to hire a special needs planner to help you to report changes to an SSI recipient, you can contact Weeks Law Firm team of attorneys, or visit our blog to learn more about our services.

Communication resulting from use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship. You will need to meet with an attorney and sign a separate written retainer agreement.