SSI recipients will probably all be well-aware that their benefit is considered by Social Security to be ‘needs-based’. This means that almost any kind of other income or change in living arrangement is going to have some effect on it and usually seems to cause it to go down or to disappear altogether. The Social Security Administration is charged with keeping an eye on these matters but there’s a time lag and there are errors along the way. It is therefore of little surprise that the agency ends up having to re-evaluate SSI amounts and either ask for funds back or let beneficiaries know that they won’t be getting as much SSI as they were expecting.
While this is almost invariably disappointing to the beneficiary, she does have an opportunity to request a reconsideration and appeal the decision. In the past that meant that if the request was submitted within 15 days of the dreaded letter the beneficiary could expect to continue to receive the SSI amount she had been receiving, at least until the end of the appeal process, however long that might take.
The good news is that Social Security have now acknowledged that due to the current situation, caused by both the pandemic and the shortage of federal employees, it is not easy to get a request for reconsideration back to an SSA office within 15 days of the ‘adverse action’ letter having been sent. To alleviate that issue the agency has now decreed that as long as our SSI recipient gets the reconsideration request back to them within 65 days of the letter having been issued, she can still expect to keep getting her SSI check until a final decision is made. Of course, if the appeal is successful then the SSI won’t be reduced at all.
Even if the request is received after those 65 days it’s possible to keep getting the SSI check but the beneficiary has to come up with a bloody good reason why at that point.