I Won My Case – Now What? Part II

By: Charles D. Hankey

After a client wins disability, what happens next? The process of getting money can be lengthy and confusing. Your favorable decision will tell whether you have been awarded SSD, SSI, or both. It will also tell you your onset date, which is the date that Social Security decides you became disabled.

If you have been awarded SSD, you should get a Notice of Award shortly after your favorable decision. 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 have been awarded SSI, Social Security will ask you to answer questions about your total household income. This includes income from everyone living in your household unless you pay them rent. If you have borrowed money from friends or family, make sure it is clear it was a loan, so it will not be counted as income. Then Social Security will calculate your benefit and send you a Notice of Award. 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.

If you are awarded both SSI and SSD you will get two separate Notice of Award letters. You need to read them together. Your backpay will not equal the amount of the two notices added together. Instead, you will get less of the SSD to make up for the SSI. This is called an SSI offset. So what ends up happening is that you get two checks. Most people who are awarded both SSI and SSD will only get a monthly check for SSD.

As with everything, we are here to answer any questions you have concerning the process.