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 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.