At Heermans Disability Law Firm, we help clients with the application and appeal process for SSDI and SSI benefits. Having a lawyer for social security disability appeal hearings can be a deciding factor in whether your claim is approved or not and can be your best bet for getting the benefits you need. It can be a big relief to work with an SSA law firm that’s familiar with the process and has the legal background to argue for your case approval.
But what happens after your appeal is approved at the hearing? The appeal isn’t actually the end of your legal journey—even after the long process it takes to get your case approved, there’s still “housekeeping” that needs to be done to make sure you keep getting your benefits.
While the SSA disability process can be frustrating to work through, the good news is that the administration has made recent changes to help make the “housekeeping” easier for you after your claim is approved. Here, we’ll break down the steps you need to take to maintain your benefits after your application is approved and how recent changes make it easier to keep up with the legal requirements of receiving benefits.
What steps do I need to take in order to keep receiving my benefits?
The SSDI/SSI application process involves an initial application—which might be denied—followed by a reconsideration, which could also be denied. If there is a denial, it would be followed by an appeal at a face-to-face hearing (or a virtual hearing, in the age of COVID-19). If your claim is approved at this hearing, a long period of stress, waiting, and hoping and praying is at an end—but now there are steps you must take in the future to that make sure you keep receiving your benefits.
One of the main things that needs to be done is filling out and submitting the Disability Update Report, which is also called Form SSA-455. This report must be completed every three years in order for you to continue receiving your benefits. That’s because the SSA reviews your case periodically to make sure you still qualify for benefits—this is called a Continuing Disability Review, and it’s required by the law.
You also need to report any big changes that can impact your eligibility for benefits. These changes must be reported within ten days of the end of the month in which the change happens. You have to report any change in your income or benefits—for example, if you start working or if you receive a pension or disability benefits from any other program you must share that information with the SSA.
You also have to report more personal changes—like if you move, change your direct deposit account, get married or divorced, change your name, become a parent, or leave the US for more than 30 days. A conviction for a crime or a warrant for your arrest, a change in citizenship status, caring for a child who receives benefits, or taking part in the Ticket to Work program all also need to be reported. The SSA lists all changes that need to be reported—to continue receiving your benefits, the SSA must be notified of any of these changes.
Why is reporting changes that could impact my eligibility so important?
Reporting changes that might impact your eligibility is a legal responsibility. Not making reporting requirements, not filling out the Disability Update Report, or making a false statement can have major repercussions. If you don’t report a situational change, or report it later than 10 days after the end of the month in which it happens, could impact your benefit payments. They could be stopped completely or there may be a sanction placed on your payments.
A sanction could mean that after the first failure to report or falsely report, losing benefit payments for six months. If there’s a second occurrence of a reporting problem, you may lose benefit payments for 12 months and a 24 month loss of payments after a third occurrence. You may also have to repay any benefits you have received that are considered overpaid.
It’s also possible that not reporting a change means missing payment that is due to you—that means you might be entitled to an increase in benefit payment because of the change in circumstance. But regardless, any changes must be reported and the Disability Update Report must be filled out—otherwise, you are putting your benefits at risk.
How have recent changes made it easier to fill out forms?
You can report changes online, over the phone, through the mail, or by creating a my Social Security account to update your deposit information. There’s also good news for your Disability Update Report—while in previous years it could only be filled out on paper and returned through the USPS, there is now an online form that can be uploaded, streamlining the process and making it more accessible and faster (if you have access to a computer).
Before you fill out this form online, you will receive a request via USPS mail for you to update your disability report. You’ll need your Social Security number, address, phone number, and email address to go onto the SSA website and fill it out online. Once you’ve signed digitally, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm that signature—your form can’t be processed without this confirmation.
How can Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm help me with my disability claim?
The application for disability benefits can be confusing. Reporting changes and filling out the Disability Update Report is getting easier, but having an experienced disability lawyer by your side can still make all the difference during your application process.
Finding the best disability lawyer for you can seem intimidating, but at Heermans, we make it simple. Our team is experienced. As a smaller, more intimate and knowledgeable local firm, we exclusively serve the Greater Mid-South area. We are familiar with the local judicial process and provide friendly, personal service. We are by your side every step of the way.
Whether your claim has been denied or if you are just starting to inquire about social security disability benefits, we’re here to help. Call or text us at 901-244-0057 or fill out our quick and easy online form.
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