Social Security

1-800-976-6728 OR
(MN RELAY – 711)

Eligibility for SSA benefits for people with disabilities

People with disabilities may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), based on their own work history, based on the work history of a parent or spouse who is retired, disabled or deceased or based on financial need. Comparison of SSA’s programs for people with disabilities

Applying for benefits

Social Security Administration Benefits - Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Call 1-800-772-1213 to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits and request an appointment to apply for benefits. Your appointment can either be by phone or in person at your local SSA office. SSA staff will assist you in completing the application forms.
  • Apply online For Disability Benefits.
  • More information on applying for SSA benefits

County benefits - Medical Assistance, Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly Food Support, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and general assistance

  • To apply for benefits from the county, find the number for your county office. Then, contact the County Economic Assistance unit in the county you live.

Subsidized Housing

  • To apply for Subsidized Housing, contact your local Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Social Security announces annual increases

Most years, the Social Security administration makes certain cost of living changes to benefits and work rules. These changes take place on January 1st. Click HERE for the increases that took place on January 1st, 2020. 

Knowing which benefits you receive

The first step in avoiding benefit overpayments and underpayments is to verify the amounts and types of benefits that you receive. Social Security Administration (SSA) and other public program rules about working vary. It is critical that you know which benefits you receive, so you will know which specific work rules apply to your situation.

If you are working with the Minnesota Work Incentives Connection, we may verify your benefits as part of our assistance to you. If you want to check on your own benefits, you can do so at no cost. There are three ways to verify your benefits through Social Security:

  1. Benefits Verification Letter - Call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY)and request a Benefits Verification Letter. You will need your Social Security number and may be able to get initial verification verbally.
  2. Create a my Social Security account online. Once you have created an account for yourself, you can go into my Social Security and request your benefit verification letter. You are also able to access other services through your my Social Security account, such as changing your address and phone number, request replacement Social Security or Medicare cards, and report wages if you work and receive SSDI.
  3. Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) - Call your local SSA office or 1-800-772-1213 and request a Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) for more complete information about your benefits.
  • The (BPQY) contains information about the type of benefits you receive, the date you became eligible for benefits along with the current benefit amount you and your family members receive. There is also a section that verifies your Medicare eligibility date.
  • Much of the rest of the BPQY summarizes your work activity as recorded in SSA's electronic records. If your work activity is not up to date with SSA, the information in your BPQY, especially information about the Trial Work Period (TWP), may be incorrect.
  • If any of the information on the BPQY appears to be incorrect based on your information, contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to resolve any discrepancies.
  • If you are a beneficiary interested in getting a BPQY, call your local SSA office at 1-800-772-1213 and ask for one. It will be mailed to the address shown on your SSA records. A signed Consent Form is needed if the BPQY is to be sent to someone other than the beneficiary.
  • Additional information about the BPQY

Monitoring wages and benefits

Monitoring your benefits can be very complex, especially if you receive multiple benefits. What each benefits provider needs from you varies according to your personal circumstances. If you follow the simple steps listed below, you will have all or most of the information they might request.

There are a few easy steps that you can take for effective benefits monitoring:

  • Verify with your various benefits providers which benefits you receive and the benefit amounts.
  • Keep a calendar that shows your work schedule including when you use holiday, sick and vacation pay. Call the Work Incentives Connection for an easy to use tracking calendar.
  • Keep all paystubs and make copies before you send them to your benefits providers.
  • Report to all of your benefit providers whenever you change jobs or have a change in work hours, pay rates, other benefits or your living situation. The most common benefits providers to report to would be your local Social Security Administration office, your County Financial Worker and your Housing Provider.
  • Document everything - Keep good notes about your conversations with benefits providers (date, time, the person you talked to, and what was said when you spoke them the person). Also, keep all letters you receive about your benefits, even if they are hard to understand.

Most importantly, be sure to report to your benefits providers whenever you start and stop work and when you have changes in your wages. This will help avoid overpayments. Here is a telephone log to track every time you talk to someone to document for your records.

Responding to Social Security Administration (SSA) overpayments

Receiving an overpayment notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is frustrating and frightening for most people. Overpayments can range from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. It is very important that you respond to an overpayment letter within 60 days or you may lose your opportunity to appeal SSA's decision.

Luckily, the procedures for appealing an overpayment are included with each overpayment notice. Here are a few tips to determine which steps to take:

  • Ask SSA for a Reconsideration when you think the overpayment is incorrect or that SSA is using inaccurate information.
  • Ask SSA for a Waiver when you think that the overpayment is correct, but you do not think you were at fault for the overpayment and also do not have the resources to repay an overpayment.
  • How to respond to overpayments.

Other things to know:

  • People usually do not need a lawyer to file an initial appeal.
  • Small overpayments can sometimes be waived by asking for an Administrative Waiver.
  • Documenting overlooked Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE) and Subsidy often reduces or eliminates overpayments.
  • If you need to repay an overpayment, you may be able to negotiate a monthly payment amount that fits your budget.
  • The best thing to do is to avoid overpayments in the first place by carefully monitoring wages and benefits.

Legal assistance for Social Security recipients

Although the Work Incentives Connection can help you resolve many different issues with your benefits providers, there may be times when you need to consult an attorney. The Minnesota Disability Law Center provides legal assistance to people with disabilities. If they cannot assist you directly, they may refer you to an attorney who can at the Minnesota Disability Law Center.

Expedited Reinstatement of Social Security Cash Benefits

Expedited Reinstatement of Social Security Cash Benefits (EXR) allows people whose Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits terminated because of their earnings to have those benefits restarted without having to file a completely new application.

The purpose is to encourage people to work more by removing fears that they won’t be able to access Social Security again if their situation changes. Paperwork for EXR is minimal and the process is relatively quick. Under EXR, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may pay up to 6 months of provisional benefits while they determine if the individual still meets their criteria for receiving benefits based on a disability. If SSA denies the request for ongoing benefits, they generally will not require that the individual repay the provisional benefits.

Do you qualify? You must say yes to all of these to qualify:

  • You stopped receiving SSDI due to earnings from work
  • Are no longer earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level in 2020, which is $1,260 per month for people with disabilities or $2,110 per month for blind beneficiaries.
  • Are currently unable to earn over SGA
  • Have the same disability as when you applied initially
  • Make the request for reinstatement within 60 months (5 years) from the month SSA terminated the previous benefits

How do you apply?

Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and ask for an appointment to apply for Expedited Reinstatement. Or, call or visit your local Social Security Administration office. Note: Your Social Security representative may recommend that you complete a new application instead of pursuing EXR. This may be more advantageous for you depending on your situation.

What else should I know?

Once you have received 24 months of benefits after qualifying for EXR, you will get a new Trial Work Period (TWP) and Extended Period of Eligibility to test your ability to increase your earnings again.