Importance of Reporting & Documentation

A good rule of thumb is: if you aren't sure if you need to report something, report it just to be safe!

Why and What

Social Security and other public agencies need to know certain things about your life so they can give you what you need and are entitled to in a timely fashion. It can sometimes feel intrusive, but if you receive benefits from a government agency, the agreement is you have to keep them consistently informed about your life as a condition of getting the benefits. For that reason, regularly reporting to these agencies is critical to making sure you’re getting the right benefits in the right amounts and on the right schedule. It takes work so stay on top of it and make reporting a habit!

You’re probably wondering, “What do I report?” Generally, this includes:

  • When you start & stop working
  • Monthly work earnings
  • Other monthly income: Unemployment, Child Support, etc.
  • Change of address/living situation
  • When you have children or marry
  • Hospitalizations
  • Incarcerations



The Who’s, How’s, & When’s of Reporting

Who do I report things to? You want to report the above information to all public benefit agencies that you are currently getting assistance from.

Who can report these things? If you’re under 18 or have a Representative Payee, your parents or guardian and/or Representative Payee should report on your behalf. However, if you’re considered a fully responsible adult in the eyes of these agencies, then it’s all on you!

When should I report? With respect to changes in your living situation and work income, you should report that information right away. Social Security recommends that you report your monthly wages no later than the 6th of every month.

How do I report? The method you choose to report will depend on the agency you’re reporting to. Below are ReachHire’s top suggestions on how to report to each public agency:

Social Security:

  1. In Person
  2. By Phone
  3. SSI Smartphone Application


  1. By Phone

DTA (Food Stamps):

  1. In Person
  2. By Phone

Public Housing:

  1. In Person
  2. Via US Mail
  3. Via Fax
  4. Email a PDF of your paperwork

Sign up today for free email or text reminders to report your monthly wages for SSI!

If it’s important to you, it’s important to Social Security!


Remember: any time you report, always get a receipt or confirmation that your information was received. This will be extremely helpful if there’s ever a mistake – and mistakes do happen! See the section below for more information.

Documentation is Key

Avoid -overpayments- by keeping and organizing all of your Social Security documents. This may take some time, but by following these suggestions you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

  • Create an organized binder where you can store all documents you get from Social Security and any other public agency
  • Make copies of the letters and monthly pay stubs you send them
  • If you report your wages on the phone, in person, or through a mobile app make sure to get a confirmation email or ask for a receipt
  • Create a communication log documenting the date, what was done, discussed and or requested, and the name of the person you spoke with during each of your phone calls or visits
  • Print any relevant emails to or from your worker and add them to your file

In the Event of an Overpayment

If you ever receive a letter notifying you of an overpayment, make sure to check your documents for proof. Overpayments occur when you don’t report consistently and/or you report past the deadline. However, because nothing in life is perfect, Social Security could be wrong, too. Your documentation might be able to help you verify this when you  -appeal the overpayment-IMPORTANT: You have up to 60 days after you receive an overpayment notification letter to appeal it!

If you’re working with a CWIC, advocate, or case manager, provide them with a copy of the overpayment notice.  For more information, click here to check out your full options if you ever get an overpayment letter.