I Won My Case – Now What?
By: Charles D. Hankey
Often the judge will tell clients at the hearing that they won, or that a favorable decision will be received. What happens next?
The process of actually getting the money can be lengthy and confusing. First, you must get an official document in the mail.
Within 90 days from the time you get your favorable decision you should either get a document called a Notice of Award, or you will be contacted by Social Security. Social Security may contact you if you were awarded SSI or if you were awarded both SSI and SSD to answer questions about your total household income including income from everyone living in your household unless you pay them rent. If you borrowed money from friends or family, make sure it is clear it was a loan, so it will not be counted as income. If you get SSI backpay, it will be divided into 3 installments which you will get every 6 months. The 3rd installment is for whatever is left of the original amount.
The Notice of Award will tell you how much you are going to get each month, your monthly benefits will be paid, and approximately when you will receive your backpay. Your backpay will not be from your onset date. There is a five month waiting period. Therefore you will be paid from five months after your onset date.
The amount of SSD you get is depends on your history of earnings. If you want a rough estimate of your monthly benefit look at your most recent Social Security Statement. You can request your Social Security Statement at http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/.
If you have dependant children go to your Social Security Office and apply for benefits for them from your SSD account.
If you are awarded both SSI and SSD you will get two Notice of Award letters. These documents tell you how much money you will get and approximately when you’ll get it. They can be confusing. They will not pay you the amount of the two notices added together; instead, they pay you less of the SSD to make up for the SSI. This is called an SSI offset. So what ends up happening is you get two checks. Some people who are awarded both SSI and SSD will only get a monthly check for SSD.
If you are awarded SSI only, they divide your SSI backpay into 3 installments which you get every 6 months. The 3rd installment gives you whatever is left of the original amount.
If you were awarded SSD and you have dependent children that either live with you or for whom you pay child support, be sure to go down to your Social Security Office and apply for dependent benefits for them.
As with everything, we are here to answer any questions you have concerning the process.