Can Social Security Cut Benefits Without Notice?

Can Social Security Cut Benefits Without Notice?
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The Social Security Administration provides many benefits through its programs, and most of these are funded by the Social Security taxes you pay while you work. The Social Security Administration sends you a letter to notify you of any changes in your status, such as beginning or ending of benefits due to ineligibility. The Social Security Administration cannot cut your benefits without notice.


  • The Social Security Administration always sends out a notice when reducing or cutting benefits and will not cut benefits without informing you first.

Ending Benefits

When you are receiving benefits from Social Security programs and the conditions under which you qualified for these benefits change, this generally causes your benefits to stop. When this happens, the Social Security Administration must notify you. You receive a letter in the mail which explains why the government is ending your benefits and the date on which your benefits will end. It also includes an explanation on how you can appeal the decision. If your benefits do not end, but they do decrease in amount, the Social Security office is also required to send you a letter to let you know about it.

Appeals Process

Once you receive the Social Security letter in the mail explaining that your benefits are ending, you have 60 days from the day you received the letter to appeal the decision. The agency assumes that you received the letter five days after it was sent. You have four different levels that you can appeal. The letter that the Social Security office sends you to tell you that your benefits are ending also explains how you can appeal your case on each level. The four levels are: reconsideration, which involves someone who was not included in the original decision to review your case; hearing by a law judge; review by the appeals council; and federal court review. If you do not agree with one level's decision, you can go to the next until you reach the federal court.

Why Benefits Stop

If you are receiving benefits from disability programs – either from the Social Security Disability program or the Supplemental Security Income program – your benefits might end because your disability has improved and no longer meets the Social Security definition of disability. It can also end because your income is no longer lower than the limits for the SSI program. For 2018, income limits for a single individual is $750 per month. If you go back to work, this might also cause you to lose benefits. It also requires you to have regular medical reviews. You also must report any changes in income levels and other family matters, such as a change of address, to the Social Security office.

Retirement Income

Even though most Social Security programs can end your benefits due to changes in your income or improvement of your health conditions, the Social Security Retirement program cannot cut your benefits. If you have reached retirement age and you have paid Social Security tax for at least 10 years, you are entitled to receive retirement benefits, and they continue until the day of your death.