Sometimes the wheels turn slowly at government agencies like the Social Security Administration (Social Security). Even programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – when people need their money quickly – can get behind processing applications. When someone is finally approved for benefits, Social Security might owe them thousands of dollars. But can you get SSI backpay when this happens? Let’s find out.
Qualifying for SSI
The first step involves applying for SSI benefits. It’s important to know that you must meet the following requirements to qualify:
- Age 65 or older OR blind OR disabled.
- Income is below Social Security’s limit.
- Countable resources are below Social Security’s limit.
- Citizen, national, or eligible aliens of the United States.
- Reside in one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands (in most cases).
Once Social Security approves your claim, they can see if you are owed any backpay.
How Backpay Is Paid
Generally, backpay is calculated from the date you submitted your application until you’re approved. Social Security usually pays large amounts of SSI backpay in three installment payments as follows:
- First payment totals no more than three times your maximum monthly benefit.
- Second payment is made six months later and is no more than three times your maximum monthly benefit.
- Third and final payment is made six months later and will be for any remaining amounts due even if they are more than three times your maximum monthly benefit.
Smaller SSI backpay amounts are usually made in one payment.
Exceptions to SSI Backpay
There are some exceptions to the installment plan method of paying SSI backpay.
The first two payments could be increased if you prove you need more money to pay for certain expenses, including:
- Necessary medical expenses, including a car for transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Housing expenses like past-due rent or late utility bills.
Social Security might send one large lump sum instead of installments if:
- You are not expected to live more than twelve months, or
- If you become ineligible for benefits after your SSI approval.
SSI is complicated, especially when backpay is involved. If you need to apply for benefits – or if you feel you should receive SSI backpay – please call for a free consultation.
SSI Backpay Is Possible.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ legal experience, much of it involving Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income claims. They can help with your application and any appeals that might be needed.
For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients throughout Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.