When Should You Notify the Social Security Administration of Life Changes?

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If something significant occurs in your life, it may have an impact on your Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration states that you have a legal obligation to report changes no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred. Certain life events may affect your eligibility for disability, retirement, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, as well as the amount of your benefits.

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If any of the following common life events occur, the SSA must be notified:

  • You shifted.
  • You got married or divorced recently.
  • You renamed yourself.
  • You had a child adopted.
  • You are no longer caring for a benefit-eligible child.
  • If your status as a non-citizen changes.
  • If you begin receiving a pension from work that is not covered by Social Security.
  • If you leave the country for more than 30 days.
  • If you are unable to manage your finances.
  • If you have been convicted of a crime.
  • If the beneficiary passes away.

Any changes may entitle you to additional benefits or require you to repay some of those benefits. If you do not report a change in a timely manner, you may face a penalty that reduces your monthly benefit amount. Failure to report changes or intentionally making a false statement may result in the withholding of SSI, disability, and retirement benefits.

The SSA may also levy a penalty on payments. The first sanction is a six-month payment suspension, with additional penalties of 12 and 24 months.

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You can notify the SSA of any changes by visiting socialsecurity.gov or calling 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing. You can also mail or visit your local Social Security office with your information. You can update your address or direct deposit information through your mySocialSecurity account.

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