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Periodic Contributor

can a social security benefit be decreased?

OK, this is really weird. My 97 year old mother got a letter today, allegedly from Social Security, saying that they were considering reducing her benefit amount by something like 30%. This is a benefit she's been getting for thirty-odd years. Now, her MySocialSecurity web page says nothing about this.

 

Is this for real? Is there any reason why someone's SS benefit can get reduced? Her financial situation hasn't changed substantially in decades.

 

They aren't asking her to do anything, but I smell a scam.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Not for SS Normally - might she be getting SSI (Supplementary Social Income) and Social Security? 

 

SSA handles both - SSI and Social Security -  but they are different - SSI is not an earned benefit, it is based on an very low income/asset limit / disability / old age criteria for receiving it - Receiving SSI along with SS, if there is a change in income or asset value, it is the SSI portion that is adjusted, not the SS portion.  SSI is also out of the General Fund, not out of the Social Security Trust Fund.  Therefore if it is SSI and not SS, it would not show up on her mySocialsecurity acct.

 

What did the letter say was the reason for the reduction?  Did they say something about SSI?

There could also be other things under Medicare benefit for which your mother owes but has not paid but they would say specifically what it would be.  

 

For it to be a scam, they would be trying to get something from your mother - like her personal information, or her money or her bank account info.  

What do they want her to do ?  Respond ?  Don't let her send any info until she knows what it is all about.

 

For you to be able to talk with Social Security about the letter - you mother has to be close by to give her authority for you to speak with them OR the best idea is for you to be listed on her MySocialSecurity account to act in this capacity as her representive.

 

Until you know exactly what the letter says - it could be several things.  So I am just giving you a few generalities here - cause it is the specifics that make the difference.  Without knowing what the letter says - it is just a shot in the dark.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna

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Honored Social Butterfly

Go to your local SS Office for help. They can tell you what to do and how to become your mothers guardian. If you have a copy of the letter take it with you.

Honored Social Butterfly

Not for SS Normally - might she be getting SSI (Supplementary Social Income) and Social Security? 

 

SSA handles both - SSI and Social Security -  but they are different - SSI is not an earned benefit, it is based on an very low income/asset limit / disability / old age criteria for receiving it - Receiving SSI along with SS, if there is a change in income or asset value, it is the SSI portion that is adjusted, not the SS portion.  SSI is also out of the General Fund, not out of the Social Security Trust Fund.  Therefore if it is SSI and not SS, it would not show up on her mySocialsecurity acct.

 

What did the letter say was the reason for the reduction?  Did they say something about SSI?

There could also be other things under Medicare benefit for which your mother owes but has not paid but they would say specifically what it would be.  

 

For it to be a scam, they would be trying to get something from your mother - like her personal information, or her money or her bank account info.  

What do they want her to do ?  Respond ?  Don't let her send any info until she knows what it is all about.

 

For you to be able to talk with Social Security about the letter - you mother has to be close by to give her authority for you to speak with them OR the best idea is for you to be listed on her MySocialSecurity account to act in this capacity as her representive.

 

Until you know exactly what the letter says - it could be several things.  So I am just giving you a few generalities here - cause it is the specifics that make the difference.  Without knowing what the letter says - it is just a shot in the dark.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

OK, a little more info. This letter wasn't asking for anything EXCEPT to call a phone number that was listed. No question that who you would have reached would have been fishing for information you shouldn't give them. So that's what this was all about. My mother was smart, and didn't do it. No question that if you were on a very limited income, this letter would have scared you, and you would have called them, immediately. People should be aware of this scam.

Periodic Contributor

Thank you. That's what I thought. The letter doesn't ask her to do anything explicitly, but there are some phone numbers that might connect to someone possibly nefarious. The letter gave NO REASON for the reduction, which was, in itself, pretty suspicious. She doesn't get SSI. This is just SS. She is calling the local SS office today to get clarification. She tells me that one of her friends got a similar letter.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Yes, calling SSA should help.  Main Number is 1-800-772-1213.

The letter does sounds VERY fishy - Sounds like an old tech fishin' scam.

 

Social Security.gov - 03/27/2020 - Inspector General Warns About New Social Security Benefit Suspens...

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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