US Government Information/SSI and identity fraud

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Question
Hi,
I'm physically disabled and receive SSI and Social Security as my only income. Recently Excellus (who I had a policy under when I was very young and before I became disabled) notified me that my name and other information may have been stolen during a security breach. They've offered 2 years of free credit monitoring and other services, but this situation has me concerned about what I will do when those 2 years are up.

Do you have any experience with what happens to someone's SSI/SS benefits if they become a victim of identity fraud?

I have known middle-class people who had their identities stolen and spent months (and money) resolving the problem, but have never heard anything about this happening to someone in my situation. Obviously, I can't even afford the monthly credit monitoring that people recommend. I try to be as safe and proactive as possible but what happens if someone, for example, gets my SSN and starts reporting income under my name? Would the SSA stop my benefits? Would I continue getting them while I try to prove the fraud? Would there be any kind of assistance I could get in sorting the problem out, and who would I ask?

Thanks so much for any insight you might have, I really appreciate your time.

Answer
Shannon,

Usually a person uses your identity to apply for credit.  If they did use your SSN to work, it could increase the amount of your Social Security Disability benefit, because your benefit is based on your lifetime earnings.  Of course, if your Social Security disability increases, your SSI benefit will decrease.  If the work is more than allowed, Social Security will contact you, because you receive benefits.  You could show them your letter about the stolen identity and advise them that you did not work.  They should not stop your benefits until they can determine if the earnings belong to you or not.  

It would be a good idea to establish a Social Security My Account on their website.  You can look at your earnings record in your My Account.  It is always a good idea to monitor your earnings record.  If earnings show up that do not belong to you, this should be reported at your local Social Security office.

I would not waste worries on this.

Hope this helps.
Darlene

US Government Information

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Darlene Oldendick

Expertise

Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.

Experience

Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years

Publications
http://www.socialsecurityadviceonline.com

Education/Credentials
33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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