What questions does Social Security ask during your annual SSI review?

Questions that get asked when your SSI disability is reviewed

The important thing to remember about your annual SSI review is that every SSI beneficiary has them. A SSI claims specialist will conduct your interview either by phone or in person.

There are many things that can affect your entitlement to SSI and the amount of your monthly benefits. Since SSI disability is a need based disability program there are income and resource limits that must be met in order to continue to be eligible for benefits. You will be asked in your review about your work and/or your spouse's work. Earnings can affect the amount of your SSI benefits. Even if you or your spouse are not working but are receiving other income such as VA benefits, short-term disability, or long-term disability, rental income, etc., your SSI entitlement or benefit amount may be affected.

There will be questions about your living arrangement. They will ask for information about other household members and the monthly household expenses. More importantly, they want to discern if you are paying your fair share of those household expenses. Why? If you are not paying your fair share of essential expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, or water), you will not receive the maximum monthly SSI benefit amount until you do.

They will ask about life insurance policies. For example, is your policy a term life or whole life? If your insurance policy includes a cash surrender value it is considered a resource that might make you ineligible for SSI.

A word of caution: if you receive any kind monetary lump sum, you should report it and save all receipts to show how the money has been spent. Remember, you as an individual are only allowed $2000.00 in resources excluding your highest valued vehicle and the home/land you live on. A couple can have up to $3000.00 in resources. Any amounts above the limit must be spent and receipts saved to show how it was spent to remain eligible for SSI benefits.

Generally, each review will consider any changes since your last SSI review. I have only highlighted some of the things you might be asked, of course; there could be other questions.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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