Could Major Life Changes Affect My Disability Benefits?

Picture of family

A lot can happen in a year, or two, or three, and beyond. Significant life changes have the potential to change the entire course of your life, and if you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  benefits, it may change your status of eligibility. It is your legal obligation to report your major life changes to the SSA. This way, you may have your benefits increased or otherwise adjusted, and you are not at risk of penalization for failing to report your recent event. Some life changes that must be reported to the SSA include:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse passing away. If you have lost and are survived by a spouse receiving SSD benefits, you may be eligible for survivors’ benefits. This can increase your monthly SSD payments, and you can earn survivors’ benefits even if you are currently receiving them from another deceased spouse.


  • You are receiving benefits based on your spouse’s work. If you receive SSD benefits based on your spouse’s work and earned enough work credits in your employment history, you may have a higher chance of receiving benefits based on your earnings. With every $1,320 earned in a year, one credit is earned. You can earn a maximum of 4 credits in a year and will ultimately need 20 credits to qualify for SSD benefits.

  • You are receiving benefits based on your parents’ work. If you are receiving SSD benefits based on your parents’ work and earned a sufficient amount of work credits in your past employment, you may also have a higher chance of receiving benefits based on your own earnings. 

  • An adult child passing away. Adults who have been disabled before 22 qualify for SSD benefits. If your child had enough working credits and provided at least half of your financial support, you may be eligible for a higher parent’s benefit based on the earning capacity of your child.

  • Worsening condition that affects earnings. If you are receiving SSI and your qualifying condition worsens and further affects your profits, you may be entitled to increased payments. This is because your income and assets determine SSI, which is a supplementary income to SSD.


How Do I Notify the SSA of My Life Changes?

SSD beneficiaries are required to report any significant life changes to the SSA. Communication with the SSA is ongoing and does not stop at the approval of benefits. You should notify the SSA of the following through the phone, mail, or in-person at your local Social Security field office:

  • If you accept a job or become self-employed
  • If you get married or divorced
  • If a beneficiary passes away
  • If you receive other disability benefits
  • If you care for a child receiving disability benefits

If you are receiving SSI benefits, you should report the following to the SSA:

  • If you start a new job or stop working
  • If you get married, separated, or divorced
  • If a beneficiary passes away

Depending on your unique situation, a significant life change may entitle you to increased benefits, or it could indicate that you are since being overpaid. You must report the overpayment to the SSA and pay back the difference to secure the benefits to which you were approved. If you receive SSI payments, the SSA may apply a penalty if you do not report a life change within ten days of the month in which it happened.

Ultimately, if you fail to report a significant life change to the SSA, your benefits will be terminated. The last thing you need as an SSDI beneficiary is the SSA doubting your credibility and having your benefits be stopped as a result. 

Where, When, and Why Should I Seek an SSD Attorney?

For your best chance at receiving and securing your SSD and SSI benefits in the state of Michigan, you need a seasoned SSD specialist in your corner. At the Disability Attorneys of Michigan, we know the ins and outs of the SSA and will assist you through everything from applying, to appeals, to communicating your needs with the SSA and more. Do you need help navigating the SSD process? Submit an inquiry form on our website or call our office toll-free at 800-949-2900 for a free legal consultation today.


, , ,

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.