You may be wondering how your earnings will affect your benefits. Benefits counseling is a free service offered by ERS to explain how working will affect your federal and state benefits. We are here to help you succeed!
You should consistently report wages during the first six days (SSI) or ten days (SSDI) of the month to help prevent overpayments and underpayments. You can report wages by calling your local Social Security Office first. You should ask about our options to use the automated toll-free SSI Telephone Wage Reporting Service, the free SSA Mobile Wage Reporting app, or the my Social Security online wage reporting tool. (requires you to contact SSA first to add your employer(s).
Because of a Work Incentive called Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits (EXR), if you had to stop working due to your disability, you could request to have your benefits reinstated without having to complete a new application. The Expedited Reinstatement provision allows you to receive up to 6 months of temporary cash benefits while SSA conducts a medical review to decide if they can reinstate your benefits. You may also be eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid during this provisional benefit period as well. You can request Expedited Reinstatement within 5 years from the month your benefits stopped (terminated). Your Medicare benefits may be protected for at least 7 years and 9 months. For more details on how to do Expedited Reinstatement, please contact a Benefits Specialist at ERS. You may also contact your local Social Security office.
Every 12 months after you assign your Ticket to Work to an EN, we must decide if you are making the expected progress toward your vocational goal. An annual progress review will be performed every 12 months to determine your progress according to the Timely Progress Guidelines. You are required to show progress in one or more of several areas including Work/Earnings, Education, and/or Training at the time of the review to remain eligible for Continuing Disability Review (CDR) protection under the Ticket to Work program. Failure to complete this review may result in the loss of the Continuing Disability Review exemption benefit.
A new Trial Work Period (TWP) is only given upon completion of the Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits after benefit termination, with a favorable decision being reached by SSA and 24 months of cash benefits have been received (Initial Reinstatement Period).
ERS helps you track your earnings to help prevent an overpayment from occurring and to guide and prepare you as you increase your earnings to reach self-sufficiency.
You can request that your benefits start again without having to complete a new application if your benefits ended because you worked and had earnings. Provisional (temporary) benefits for up to six months may be given by SSA while they determine when you are able to receive benefits again. You must not have an active overpayment of benefits with Social Security.
You are eligible if you are an SSDI or SSI beneficiary who:
• Stopped getting benefits because of earnings from work.
• Are unable to work or perform steady gainful activity.
• Are disabled because of an impairment(s) that is the same as or related to the impairment(s) that allowed you to get benefits earlier.
• Make the request within five years from the month your benefits ended.
An overpayment occurs when SSA pays you more than you should have been paid. If this happens, SSA will notify you and your representative payee, if you have one.
A Social Security notice will explain why you have been overpaid, your repayment options, and your appeal and waiver rights. You should read the notice carefully and contact an ERS Benefits Specialist immediately.
If you agree that you have been paid too much and that the overpayment amount is correct, you have options for repaying it.
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, SSA will withhold the full amount of your benefit each month, unless you ask for a lesser withholding amount and they will approve your request. Full withholding would start 30 days after they notify you of the overpayment.
If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), general Social Security will withhold 10 percent of your SSI check. (Ex. If your check is $720 a month, Social Security may withhold $72 a month for the duration of your repayment.) If you cannot afford this, you may ask that less be taken from your benefit. Or you may ask to pay back the overpayment at a rate greater than 10 percent.
SSA does not start deducting money from your SSI payments until at least 60 days after they notify you of the overpayment.
If you no longer receive SSI, but you do receive Social Security, you can pay back your SSI overpayment by having up to 10 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit withheld.
If you are not receiving benefits, you should:
If you are not receiving benefits, and you do not pay the amount back, Social Security can recover the overpayment from your federal income tax refund or from your wages if you are working. Also, they can recover overpayments from future SSI or Social Security benefits. Social Security will also will report the delinquency to credit bureaus.
If you do not agree that you have been over-paid, or if you believe the amount is incorrect, you can appeal by filing form SSA-561.
You can get the form online or by calling SSA or visiting your local office. Your appeal must be in writing. You should still also contact Social Security to discuss your situation.
You should explain why you think you have not been overpaid or why you think the amount is not correct. You have 60 days from the date you received the original overpayment notice to file an appeal. Social Security assumes you got this letter five days after the date on it, unless you show them that you did not get it within the five-day period. You must have a good reason for waiting more than 60 days to ask for an appeal.
If you believe you should not have to pay the money back, you can request that they waive collection. You must submit form SSA-632, which you can get online or by calling or visiting your local office.
There is no time limit for filing a waiver. You will have to prove that:
You may be asked to give proof of income and expenses. You may also be asked to meet with Social Security. If so, it is important for you to attend this meeting. They will stop recovering the overpayment until they make a decision on either your request for an appeal or a waiver.
Last, but not least, if you have any questions or need assistance, please contact an ERS Benefits Specialist.
Call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213
For the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
Specific questions can be answered from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Automated phone service information is available 24 hours a day.
For more information and to find copies of Social Security publications, visit their website below:
Benefits.gov is the official benefits website of the U.S. government. Its mission is to increase citizen access to benefit information, while reducing the expense and difficulty of interacting with the government.
Their Benefit Finder questionnaire can help you find benefits you may be eligible to receive and discuss with your Team.