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What changes need to be reported if I get SSI in New Jersey?

We have previously discussed various requirements that New Jersey residents must meet to receive Supplemental Security Income benefits from the Social Security Administration. Readers will remember that these benefits are distinct from Social Security disability benefits, in that SSI benefits are meant for those who are disabled and have a low level of income and assets, rather than those who paid into the Social Security system while working. However, as with most government benefits programs, once a beneficiary is on the rolls of the program, he or she must keep the government informed of certain changes that may occur.

The SSA publishes a brochure with important things to know about SSI, and in that publication is a list of the various changes that would require a recipient to notify the administration of the change. Some of these necessary reports are what one might expect, such as an address change, a change in income or a change of name, perhaps due to a marriage or divorce. However, some of the changes that required reports to the SSA are less obvious and people may not realize that they must notify the agency when they occur.

Some of these less obvious changes that require notification include becoming a parent, having an outstanding warrant for one's arrest or becoming confined to a jail or prison. Some other events that require notification are specific to age or nationality, such as beneficiaries between 18 and 22 years of age beginning or leaving school, or any change in immigration status or becoming a sponsored non-citizen. Also, if the beneficiary dies or can no longer manage his or funds on his or her own, the SSA should be notified.

There can be substantial penalties to failing to notify the SSA of these or other required changes. The penalties can include having money withheld from one's benefit checks or even having benefits suspended for a period of time. Those with questions about applying for or maintaining SSI or other Social Security disability benefits may wish to consider contacting an experienced New Jersey disability attorney.

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