Know Your Rights

Social Security is money for people who worked and retired.  People who had to stop working early because of a medical problem or disability can also get Social Security.  Sometimes, Social Security can also be given to husbands, wives and children.

We can give you information about how to apply for Social Security benefits and your rights.  We can also refer you to private attorneys or advocates if you want someone to represent you in applying for benefits. Many private representatives work for “contingency” fees – that is they don’t charge unless you get benefits.

We might be able to help you if you have Social Security benefits and an overpayment because you worked.  We also might help if you have Social Security and want to work.

The Social Security website has good information about benefits for people with disabilities and their families.  Here are links we think will be helpful:

How to Appeal a Social Security Decision 

You can appeal ALMOST anything on the SSA website.

Usually you have 60 days to appeal after you get written notice. Sometimes, you can appeal late if there is a good reason. If you get a letter saying your benefits will stop, you cannot appeal on the website.

  • You will have to fill out a form
  • Mail the form or take it to your local SSA office.
  • You have 60 days to appeal.

If you want your benefits to continue until your appeal is done, you must appeal in 10 days.

Find your local SSA office


Sometimes Social Security pays people more than they think they are supposed to get. This is an “overpayment”. When Social Security says you owe them money for an overpayment, they may try to reduce or cut off your benefits. DRM can explain your right to appeal an overpayment or seek a hardship waiver, and we may be able to represent you if the overpayment is because you returned to work. Call DRM at 1.800.288.5923 or 517.487.1755.

Work Incentives Planning Assistance Program (WIPA) 

What is WIPA?
The Work Incentives Planning Assistance Program (WIPA) is a free program funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA). WIPA provides information to people getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who are working or who want to work.

What can WIPA do for me?
Each WIPA program has a person called a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC). The CWIC can give you information about Social Security and working.

The CWIC can talk with you about Work Incentives.  Work Incentives are rules that may make it easier to work and keep benefits.

You can also find out about other benefits that may change when you are working. These include Medicare, Medicaid, other health insurances, veteran’s benefits, food assistance, and unemployment.

How do I know if WIPA can help me?
To get help from the WIPA program, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 14 years old, but not retirement age. You must also be receiving SSDI or SSI and be working or want to work.

How do I find out more about WIPA?
You can find more information online at these links:

You can find the WIPA program nearest you online. Or, you can look at the map that is included to find the phone number. You can also call us at Disability Rights Michigan: 800.288.5923 or 517.487.1755 for more information.

This information is a service of Disability Rights Michigan (DRM). It provides general information, based on the law at the time we wrote it, and is not legal advice. You do not have an attorney-client relationship with DRM. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney. If you would like more information about this topic or would like to receive this information in an alternative format call DRM at 800.288.5923.

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