Congratulations! Liner Legal has helped you WIN your disability benefits! After this exciting, life-changing news, there are many follow up questions that you may have about what happens next. Read below to find details about your program, and answers to any FAQs you may have.
Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) ONLY
If you were found eligible for SSDI only, your payments are determined by either a National Payment Center or a Regional Program Service Center. A Notice of Award is then issued with the following information:
- The months that you are eligible to receive benefits
- The total amount of benefits that you are due
- Information about when your benefits will be paid
Normally, if you are entitled to SSDI benefits only, payment is received relatively quickly after the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision. On average, most of our clients who are awarded SSDI benefits begin receiving their regular monthly payments within 30 days of the ALJ decision.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) ONLY
If you were awarded SSI benefits only, the determination of your payments is made at your local Social Security office. You will be contacted by a claims representative from SSA and asked to provide financial information for every month that you are eligible for benefits. This includes:
- Financial assistance you may have had from family or friends
- Any work that you performed
- Any assets that you own
- Any money that is held in an account (bank, retirement, or otherwise)
- Any income you may have received from unemployment, disability benefits, Workers Compensation, pension programs, or ANY other source.
Because the eligibility for SSI is based on income, your eligibility for the program could change if you have had financial support from any other source. If you live somewhere for free, your benefits are usually reduced by one-third of the maximum monthly rate. These benefits are calculated on a case-by-case basis. Due to the individual nature of these amounts, the Social Security Administration does not release any SSI payments until your local office confirms your financial eligibility. On average, it takes our clients between 30 to 60 days to receive their first payment. To make this process as speedy as possible, it is especially important to provide all the required financial information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible after your decision. If you fail to respond to these requests from the SSA, you will not receive your payments.
SSDI and SSI
If you were awarded both SSDI and SSI benefits, it is common to experience delays in the receipt of your past-due benefits. For clients who have been approved for both programs, often past-due SSI benefits are awarded in addition to their regular monthly SSDI benefits. In these situations, after the amount of your past-due benefits is determined, SSA will reduce your benefits by the amount determined by the SSA. It is common to experience delays of 2 to 6 months before you begin receiving your past-due benefits. The reason for lengthy payment delays is that both your local SSA District Office and the National Benefit Center are required to complete work before you receive your past-due benefits. If your SSI payments have not been determined by your local SSA office when the Payment Center processes your SSDI, your Notice of Award will indicate that your past-due benefits cannot be released until after your SSI eligibility is determined. If the Payment Center and the District Office fail to communicate effectively, your payments will not be processed until the error is discovered.
Now that you know what happens after you’re approved for disability benefits, it’s time to answer your frequently asked questions. If there is anything you don’t see in this list of FAQs, please feel free to contact our team of Disability Warriors by clicking here.
How can I speed up the process to get my disability benefits?
We suggest that our clients be patient during the payment process. If monthly benefits and past-due payments are not made within 60 days of the decision, you can contact the office of one of your local United States Senators for assistance. Normally, a constituent representative at the senator’s office will be able to obtain information about the delay and find out what can be done to process your benefits.
We may also be able to assist if your payments have not been received after 90 days. Contact our office if you have not gotten paid after approximately three months. It may be necessary at that time to contact the payment center to determine the source of your delay and facilitate your payments.
How far back will my past-due benefits go?
If you are eligible for SSDI, your benefits could begin as far back as 12 months before the date of the application. This is the “date of entitlement” in your case. Many people ask why benefits do not begin on the date that they were found disabled. Social Security Disability benefits do not begin on the date one is found to be disabled for two reasons: there is a waiting period of five full calendar months, and backpay benefits are limited to 12 months before the date of application. Therefore, your benefits begin either 12 months before the date of application OR five full months after the date you were found to be disabled, whichever is later.
If you are eligible for SSI, your benefits will always begin in the month after your application was filed, or the month after your established onset date (EOD), whichever is later.
Will the SSA send me a notice explaining my benefits?
Yes. You will receive a letter via mail from Social Security called your Notice of Award close to the time you receive your payment of past-due benefits owed. This notice will show your “date of entitlement” as well as the total amount of benefits due, including all your backpay, as well as the amount withheld for attorney fees. This letter may also provide helpful information about your Medicare eligibility and Medicare premium. It may also give you some information about when to expect a “continuing disability review” in the future.
Should I sign up for direct deposit from the SSA?
If you have a checking account, it may be both convenient and dependable to have your benefits directly deposited into that account. You can do this by contacting your local SSA field office. It is possible, depending on how soon you sign up for direct deposit, that you may not receive your backpay via direct deposit. In that situation, the first payment that would be directly deposited into your account would be your first regular monthly payment, NOT the check with your backpay. It is important to be aware of this possible delay when enrolling for direct deposits with the Social Security Administration and to make sure that the bank account information you provided when enrolling is always correct and up to date with the SSA.
Why should I wait until I receive my Notice of Award before I cash my check for past-due benefits?
While you are fully entitled to cash your check for past-due benefits, if you are awarded them, we advise our clients to deposit the check into an interest-bearing savings account and not spend it all until you receive the Notice of Award in the mail. This is important to make sure that your attorney’s fees were withheld and that you have not been overpaid. Overpayments put you at risk to owe money back to the SSA.
Will I be eligible for Medical Insurance if I am awarded SSDI?
Everyone eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period. Because your window of eligibility is specific and Medicare coverage options can be confusing, our insurance affiliate, Chermol Medicare & Insurance Solutions will be in contact with you to discuss your next steps. A licensed insurance agent will explain your various insurance options to you and ensure that you make the most informed decision regarding your Medicare.
Please note that to receive Medicare part B, which pays for doctor visits, you will pay a premium that will be deducted from your monthly Social Security Disability check.
Am I eligible for medical insurance if I am awarded SSI?
In Ohio, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) benefits, you will be automatically enrolled for Medicaid. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicaid plan, you should be switched to SSI Medicaid. SSI Medicaid has a passive renewal process, so you won’t typically have to fill out a yearly renewal form as long as you continue to receive SSI benefits.
If you are not enrolled in a Medicaid plan when you are approved for SSI, you will be auto-enrolled into one of the 5 plans available in Ohio: CareSource, United, Buckeye, Molina, and Paramount. If you call within 60 days for your SSI approval, you can decide which plan to enroll in.
Am I eligible for medical insurance if I am awarded both SSDI and SSI?
If you are eligible for SSI and SSDI (also called dually eligible or concurrent eligibility), you may be eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare if you fall under the income and asset requirements for SSI.
In Ohio, 24 counties (including Cuyahoga) are part of My Care Ohio, a managed care program designed for Ohioans who receive both Medicaid and Medicare benefits. For more information about Medicaid or My Care Ohio, call the Ohio Medicaid Consumer Hotline at (800) 324-8680.
Because your window of eligibility is specific and Medicare coverage options can be confusing, our insurance affiliate, Chermol Medicare & Insurance Solutions will be in contact with you to discuss your next steps.
What if I already have health insurance?
If you have health insurance coverage already, you need to determine how Medicare will work with your specific insurance plan. Many health insurance policies state that Medicare is to provide the primary coverage with your present health insurance, paying only for what Medicare does not cover. Make sure to check with your insurance company when you get your Medicare card in the mail.
The Disability Warriors at Liner Legal are here for you every step of the way. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us here.
Are There Additional Benefits Available for My Minor Children?
When you qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. This can include biological children, adopted children, or stepchildren. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.
Each dependent may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability benefit amount, but the amount will be lowered if there are other people collecting benefits on your account. Generally, the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit.
To add benefits for your children, please contact your local Social Security office, call the national Social Security number (800) 772-1213 or submit an Application for Child’s Insurance Benefits, available at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-4-bk.pdf. You will need your child’s Social Security number and a copy of their birth certificate.