A lot of things happen after you approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
- Social Security needs to review your financial eligibility.
- Social Security must reimburse the State for any interim assistance you received while waiting for your SSI decision. In Colorado, the interim assistance program is called Aid for the Needy Disabled (AND). This means that if you received AND and won your Social Security SSI case, Social Security will first repay the Department of Human Services (Department of Social Services).
- Social Security pays out your back benefits in installment payments.
What!?! My brother is on SSI, they didn’t make him wait to get his back benefits.
The way Social Security handles SSI back benefits was changed on May 8, 2006. If you are entitled to receive more than three months of back benefits, your benefits will be paid in three installments paid every six months (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and 42 USC § 1383(a)(10)(A), (B)). The first and second installment payments are limited to three months worth of SSI benefits. However, the first and second installments can be increased to more than three months of benefits to pay for the following:
- Outstanding debts for: food, clothing, shelter, or medically necessary services, supplies or equipment, or medicine; or
- Current expenses or expenses anticipated in the near term for: medically necessary services, supplies or equipment, or medicine, or for the purchase of a home. 42 U.S.C. § 1383(a)(10)(B).
Installment payments do not apply in two situations:
- If you have an impairment that is expected to result in death within 12 months; or
- If you are ineligible for SSI benefits and are likely to remain ineligible for the next 12 months (for example, if you are only entitled to back SSI benefits because you are also receiving Disability Insurance benefits under Title II and the monthly amount exceeds the monthly SSI benefit payment. 42 U.S.C. § 1383(a)(10)(C).
For more information on how to qualify for one of these exceptions, see POMS SI 02101.020.