70,000 people lose their Social Security benefits each year for these reasons

For people who need financial support, Social Security benefits can be crucial. Unfortunately, these payments are not guaranteed and some funding sources may eventually run out. According to a June 8 report from NPR, an average of 70,000 Social Security recipients see their benefits revoked each year.

Whether you’re on Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance, or Supplemental Security Income, you can lose your monthly benefits in the event of certain events, some of which may be beyond your control. In some cases, such as increased income, it may be worth losing your benefits to make more money. The type of benefits you’re getting also matters, which we’ll explain below.

Keep reading to find out how you could lose your Social Security benefits. For more, here’s what to do if your Social Security payment is delayed and what you need to know about the future of your benefits.

You start making a lot of money

If you get a new job while you’re on benefits, it could affect the amount of Social Security money you get each month. Here’s what you need to know.


Taking a job can cause your SSI benefits to end, according to the Social Security Administration. It depends on how much money you are making. Generally, SSI eligibility is for people who earn $1,971 or less each month. If your income exceeds that amount, you will no longer be eligible for benefits.

Note that if you are working, $1 will be deducted from your pay for every $2 you make. For 2024, the maximum amount you can receive each month is $943, or $1,415 for a couple.


For SSDI recipients, you can return to work for up to nine months without losing your benefits. This is the SSA’s nine-month probationary period. If after that time you earn $1,550 or more per month, the SSA will consider that substantial gainful activity. In that case, your benefits will be suspended for the months that your earnings are above the substantial amount during the 36-month earning period after you complete the work probation period.

If your earnings fall below the substantial amount during that 36-month period, your benefits may be reinstated. Benefits will end if your earnings are above the substantial amount after the 36-month vesting period ends.

You go to jail or prison

If you are in jail or prison for more than 30 days, your Social Security and SSI benefits may be suspended. And once you’re out of prison, you’re not eligible for your benefits again. Here’s how it works.

Social Security/SSDI:

If you receive Social Security and your benefits are suspended because you were sentenced to jail or prison, your benefits can be reinstated starting the month after your release. For example, if you were laid off in May, your benefits may resume in June.

Note: The benefits your spouse or children receive will continue as long as they remain eligible.


If you receive SSI, your benefits will be suspended while you are in prison. Your payments can start again the month you are discharged, unlike Social Security benefits. The money you get that month would be a partial payment, depending on the release date.

There is a caveat. If your prison or jail lasts more than 12 consecutive months, your SSI benefits will be stopped. You will need to contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to submit a new application after you are released.

You become divorced

If you are recently divorced or plan to be soon, there are certain provisions that will prevent you from receiving your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.

  • You have not been married to your former spouse for 10 years or more.
  • You are married to another person now, so you can no longer collect benefits for your ex-spouse. This changes if your current marriage ends due to annulment, divorce or death.
  • You are entitled to benefits in your own name and your benefit amount is more than your ex-spouse’s benefits.

For more, here’s a Social Security guide to all your benefits. Also, here’s how to find out how much Social Security money you might get when you retire.

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