If you receive Social Security benefits in the form of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, at some point the Social Security Administration, or SSA, will require that you go through a process to redetermine your eligibility for benefits. You can be chosen randomly for a redetermination, or you can trigger a redetermination by reporting a change in your living arrangements. In any event, it is important to respond to an SSA request for redetermination so that your benefits are not interrupted.
The SSA conducts redeterminations in order to ensure that you are still eligible for benefits and that you are receiving the appropriate amount of benefits. During the redetermination process, the SSA will review your income, which includes any wages you earn and benefits you receive from other sources, such as pensions or unemployment and free food or shelter, including support from a spouse, parent or other relative. Your other resources will also be considered, such as property you own. Also included is a review of your living arrangements--whether you own your home, rent from someone else, or reside in a group home or institution. If you have been receiving SSI as a minor, you will go through the adult redetermination process when you turn 18.
Every person receiving benefits will go through the redetermination process at some point. In some cases, the SSA requests a redetermination within the first three months of receiving benefits, but typically the redeterminations occur within a 1- to 6-year time frame. Reporting a change in your living arrangements--such as after marriage--will sometimes cause the SSA to request a redetermination.
The redetermination process is conducted in one of three ways: by phone interview, mail or in-person. When the SSA requests a redetermination, you will be notified by mail regarding the type for your redetermination. For a redetermination by mail, you simply fill out the form you receive from the SSA and return it by mail to the SSA once you have completed and signed it. For a redetermination by phone interview, the SSA letter will state what time and date to expect a call. If the request is for an in-person redetermination, you will have to go to the SSA offices. For either a phone or in-person interview, an SSA representative will complete the paperwork based on the answers you provide.
Documents related to your income, resources and living arrangement may be requested by the SSA as part of the redetermination process. These documents may include receipts for your living expenses, bank account statements, pay stubs or tax returns. The SSA will specifically identify what documents it wants in its redetermination request. If necessary, the SSA will assist you in locating the requested documents.
Do not ignore a request for redetermination by the SSA. Failure to respond to a request for an interview or to complete and return a form can result in the loss of your SSI benefits. Depending on your situation, this may also mean a loss of your Medicaid benefits as well.