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How does the Social Security Administration decide how much SSI to pay me when I get an SSI approval?

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Learn how SSI benefits are calculated after an SSI approval and what kinds of income are countable when determining your SSI payment amount.

ssi-approval

When SSI Benefits Start

After an SSI approval, benefits will be paid for the first full calendar month after you apply or after you become eligible for SSI, whichever is later.

The SSI Payment Formula

The Social Security Administration, known as SSA, figures your federal SSI benefit by deducting your countable unearned income and your countable earned income from the maximum Federal Benefit Amount of $721 for individuals and $1,082 for a couple. The remainder is your Federal Amount Payable. Some examples will follow later in this article.

State Supplements

Some states pay a supplementary benefit to individuals who qualify for SSI or do not qualify only because of income or resources that are above the federal limits but below the state’s limits. Some states administer their own supplements and require application or contact with the state. Other states turn the administration of their state supplement over to the Social Security Administration. If your state has a supplement that you could qualify for and the state handles its own administration, your Social Security office will direct you to the appropriate agency to make application. For a list of states with state supplements, see “Index of States That Supplement Payment When You Apply for SSI Benefits.”

When Income is Counted for SSI

After you get an SSI approval, your ongoing financial eligibility for SSI is decided on a month-by-month basis. This means you can be eligible in one month, not in the next, and then eligible again in the following month.

Your first three months of benefits are calculated based on your income in the first month of eligibility. After that, unless eligibility is interrupted, your payment will usually be based on income received two months before. For example, if you became eligible in March 2014, your countable income, including deemed income, that you received in March 2014 would determine your payment amount in March, April and May 2014. Then April’s income would determine June’s payment; May’s income would determine your July payment, and so on. From this example, we can see how important it is to report changes by the tenth of the month after the change. Reporting on time minimizes underpayments and overpayments, which you might have to repay.

If eligibility is interrupted, the next three months are calculated based on income in the first month eligibility is reestablished. For example, if you received benefits from March 2014 through August 2014 and then were ineligible for payment in September because of excess income or resources, when your benefits resumed in October 2014, your October, November, and December 2014 SSI disability benefits would be calculated using your October income. This calculation convention is also used when an adult SSI recipient or the parents of a child receiving SSI have a change in marital status.

For a discussion of which types of income are countable and which are not, please see our articles “I Want to Work. Can You Tell Me How to Get SSI While Working?” and “When I Complete My SSI Application Form, It Asks Me to Declare My Income. Does All My Income Affect My SSI?

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98 Comments

  1. Patty says:

    kay, I became disabled August of 09 but did not file for disability until November 2013.. i have been approved but was wondering how far back will i get back pay or retro pay. Thanks!

  2. Kristina says:

    My son was approved for ssi benefits. He received his first payment on February 3 Rd. When I went to the office on Friday to try to get an award letter because i hadn’t received one, I was told that his payment for March would be zero because of the amount they estimated my husband made for January. However, their estimate was way off from what he actually made. Will they get an actual amount from my husbands employer? Should I bring in my husbands paystubs for January to the office on Monday?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kristina,

      You are responsible for providing proof of your husband’s earnings, which do affect your son’s benefit amount, so yes, do take your husband’s pay stubs to the office. Be sure that they take a copy and return the originals to you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  3. Jennifer says:

    If i have been receiving cash assistance from dta/welfare while waiting for my ssdi to be approved am i responsible to pay all that back to welfare and how far back. That would basically be all my backpay im praying no i would appreciate so feedback if anyone knows the answer plz email me at Jennifer113@gmail thanku

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      Your welfare office can tell you how far back you will have to repay the assistance that you have received. I would expect it to be at least back to the date of your Social Security entitlement. If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, the money will be withheld from your back pay and paid directly to the state or county agency that assisted you. If you are approved for Social Security only, you will need to make the repayment yourself.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Kathryn says:

        Hi Kay, I have a follow up question. My husband just had his hearing and we think it went well. If he’s approved, his application was for SSI and SSDI and we have been receiving Food stamp benefits, medicaid for our kids and Healthy Indiana Plan Insurance (income based premiums) for my husband. Will SSA figure all that up or do we have to find out from public aid what to report?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kathryn,

          You need to contact your public aid office to find out what needs to be reported; however, generally speaking t is necessary to report income changes for all need-based assistance.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  4. Sharon Cook says:

    I got approved for my SSI on February 7th, 2014 after fighting for 4 yrs, When will I get my first monthly check?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sharon,

      It will likely be a few weeks before you receive your first Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment. You will need to submit financial information going back to when you first applied so that the Social Security Administration can determine whether you were financially eligible during the whole time and, if so, for how much each month. Your regular monthly payment will probably be paid first and then the retroactive benefits will be paid in installments six months apart.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  5. Kim Phipps says:

    My 6-month old son just received his first check last week. How do I know if the check is back pay or the monthly amount? Also, why were there no instructions included such as what the money can be spent on?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      If the amount of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check was more than $721, the check is back pay.

      As your son’s representative payee, you must use the funds for his needs–food, shelter, diapers, medical care, childcare if you are working, etc. If any amount is not needed, it should be saved for his future needs. You can get a pamphlet from the Social Security Administration that describes your responsibilities. You should keep a written record of how you spend the money so that when you are asked to complete an accounting once a year, you will have the information you need nice and handy.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Kim Phipps says:

        Thank you so much for your reply! My only other question is this: if I received back-pay, isn’t that only to be used for medical expenses? Thank you again for being so helpful.

  6. Roxy says:

    Hey,
    What if child support paid back the welfare for what I received well waiting for ssi to be approved. Would they still take the amount or give back the child support? Im still waiting on decision of how much they will give me back.

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Roxy,

      You need to check with the welfare office for a fully informed answer, but I believe that if you do not owe any money paid by welfare and you do not owe back child support, no money will be withheld from benefits paid by the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. Elora says:

    My husband was told by his local case worker that his first installment of backpay for ssi was released on March 13th. We have had the Ditect Express xard for about a month now and have been checking it frequently. The ssa website says a one time deposit was made on 3/14/14 but today is the 16th and no $$ on the card still?? Is there something wrong?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Elora,

      It can take a couple of nightly bank runs to transfer funds. Hopefully, the payment has loaded to your card by now. If it has not, you need to report non-receipt to the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  8. heather says:

    hi,
    i have a question i got approved for social security February 21st 2014 and they owe me back pay from January 2012 what should i get first and when should i receive my first payment
    thank you and have a wonderful day

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      If you did not also file a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, you may get your retroactive payment first though that is not guaranteed. The amount you will receive will depending on your earnings before becoming disabled and your age. You can request an earnings statement either online at http://www.ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 that will estimate your monthly benefit. Multiply that times the number of months since January 2012.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  9. Jess says:

    My son was just approved for SSI. We’re waiting for the last step, verifying income. He receives $198 per month in child support. I know SSA will deduct some of the funds for that. However, I don’t work and we live with my grandparents. I don’t pay rent but I am responsible for myself and son.

    I receive money from SNAP and I use the child support money (which isn’t much) for any extras like clothes or the occasional game. I don’t have a car or assets. I don’t receive money from the grandparents, only shelter (which I of course appreciate). My concern is that since we live with my grandparents SSI will look at their income as well. I’ve talked to 20 different SSA workers and received different answers every time. Some say the grandparents’ income won’t be taken into account, others say it may.

    This seems like a very unique question and I’ve had problems finding an answer. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jess,

      Your grandparents’ income will not be considered in determining your son’s SSI payment amount. Initially his payments will reduced for free shelter by an amount equal to the lesser of one-third of the maximum possible benefit and his prorata share of shelter expenses. For example, if there are four of you in the household, his share would be one-quarter of the shelter expenses. For example, if the rent (or mortgage and property taxes) and utilities (excluding phone) come to $1,600 a month, his share would be $400; however,one-third of the maximum SSI is $240.33, so his SSI benefit would be reduced by that amount. Once he starts getting benefits, you can start paying his share of shelter expenses to his grandparents. Two months after he starts paying his share, his SSI will be increased by $240.33.
      (Your grandparents will have to provide proof the the shelter expenses and make a statement that you are paying his share once that happens.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  10. Juicyduke says:

    I applied for ssi benefits for my child in April of 2012. I was denied in August 2012. I did not appeal. I filed again in January 2014 and we just got approved March 31. Will my child receive backpay from the first time we applied and were denied or only from the latest application since we didn’t appeal?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Juicy,

      Because you did not appeal the first denial, your child’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will be based on the January 2014 application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  11. Matthew says:

    I had got approved for SSI and was receiving the minimum and know that I am married and my wife is my payee can I still get more money since now I am a couple or is it just with certain states a use I am from Texas

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Matthew,

      No SSI is paid for dependents, so getting married will not increase your SSI.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  12. dolphingirl89 says:

    I am aready getting SSI/SSA and was wondering If I moved in with my grandfather, would my benefit be decreased. I already talked to him and would be giving him 300 a month for my room and the cost of bills. Plus buying my own food and making meals seperate.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dolphin Girl,

      Your Social Security Disability will not be affected by moving in with your grandfather.

      If you live in his home as a renter and if $300 plus utilities is market value for the room (the amount he would charge anyone) and you buy your own food, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) should not go down. You do need to report your move to Social Security. You will need a statement from your grandfather including the date you move in, that he’s renting you a room and the amount you will pay for rent and utilities and the fact that you will buy your own food.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • dolphingirl89 says:

        ok thank you and what would iit do for his ssi?? it wont go down will it??

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dolphin Girl,

          If your grandfather is getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and not Social Security, your being a boarder and paying rent may cause his SSI to go dow because the rent you pay him may be treated as income. If it is affordable for you, you could move in as a member of his household, instead of as a renter, and pay half of the rent or mortgage and half the utilities, while buying your own food. If you did this neither your or your grandfather’s SSI would be decreased. If you want to or need to stick to your original plan of paying rent, I suggest that before you move in you and your grandfather go to a Social Security office and find out for sure whether your being a boarder and paying rent will result in a decrease in his benefits.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  13. Amazing Mom says:

    If my son was approved for social security March 3rd when will I receive his first payment

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amazing Mom,

      Payment can take from a few weeks to two months or more to begin depending whether your son is eligible for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income Disability or both and on current workloads in the local office and/or payment center. You can contact the local office to find out what, if anything, you need to submit to get payment started.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • JAIMIE LANZA says:

        I was approved for my child on September 30,3014. My question is how soon till i recieve a check and att he moment my husband lost his job would my soon still be eligible even if noone in the household currently has o income?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jaimie,

          You should report right away to Social Security that your husband lost his job. If the family has no income and your son was not eligible for the maximum Supplemental Security Income (SSI), his SSI will go up. You must also report if your husband gets unemployment benefits, even though it will be less than he was earning, because unearned income is treated differently than work earnings and your son’s SSI will have to be recalculated based on the unemployment. It can take from a couple weeks to a couple months to get benefits started.

          Sincerely,
          Kay
          Sincerely,
          Kay

  14. lisa says:

    Today is May 1st 2014vi have phone intetview to discuss income resources and living arrangements for my ssi how long after this will I receive benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      If you have already received a medical approval of your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, payment can begin anywhere from a week to several weeks after the interview depending on whether you are asked to submit documentation and on whether the office is backlogged.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  15. Bree Blanco says:

    Hello I have a question. I just found out my son has autism. Im still in the process of finishing his iep because I want to check out his schools first so we haven’t close it yet. I receive calworks for him and my other 2 kids. I’m a full time student, I’m not employed and their father got deported one year ago. Can my son receive ssi?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bree,

      Whether or not your son will qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits will depend on how severely limited he is. I suggest that you file the application and get a formal decision. No payments are made for periods before the date of an SSI application, so I recommend getting the claim started as promptly as possbile to avoid possible loss of benefits. To support the claim, provide all medical and psychological evaluations, school evaluations, and instructional plans for your son.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  16. Kris says:

    My fiancé was just approved for SSI. He first became disabled when he got real sick with meningitis in December 2012. In August 2013 he underwent brain surgery then a second brain surgery in Sept 2013 and in between has had several other medical problems that are in the process of treatment. He applied for Social Security in December 2013 and we just found out he got approved but they are only paying back to December 2013. He was told you have to be disabled for AT LEAST a year to be eligible. He has been disabled for longer than a year and they are only paying him for 5 months worth? And they calculated an estimate of him getting 700-800 a month based on what he has paid into Social Security and now that he is approved, they said he is only getting 480 a month. This just doesn’t seem right. We reside in WV. Is there a way to file for disagreement or is there anything we can do to fight this?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kris,

      I suggest that your fiance contact Social Security for an explanation of which benefits he will be getting–Social Security Disability (SSD) based on his earnings record or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a public assistance program for disabled persons with little or no income and few assets, or both. The “$480″ figure sounds like the SSI payment amount for a person who is living with someone else and receiving free shelter and/or food. It is possible that he will be receiving that amount until his Social Security is paid at a higher rate. If he was insured for Social Security (had enough work credits) when he became disabled, then he may yet receive SSD in the quoted higher monthly amount.

      As far as back pay goes, SSI is paid only from the month after the date of application (January 2014). SSD begins to accrue the later of the sixth full calendar month after Social Security determines disability began or twelve months before application. In your fiance’s case, if Social Security found him disabled in December 2012, then his benefits would begin to accrue in June 2013.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  17. Steve says:

    Kay,

    My question regards SSD backpay. I’ve been awarded backpay from April 2012-March 2014. $8,468. My SSD is only $355/month.
    However it’s being held for reductions. I would like to know what to expect.
    From May 2013 to August 2013 I received $480/month SSI, then September 2013 to April 2014 it was increased for rent to $721.
    My question is will they reduce my ssd payments of $355 for the 12 months I was paid SSI from my backpay. Basically cut it in half or will I have to pay back the entire SSI payments?
    Also will the lawyer fee be 25% of the backpay before, or after the reductions?
    Then finally will my future benefits be the SSD $355? Or a combination of both to maintain the $721 I’ve been getting.
    I’m sure other factors may be involved. No spouse or children and no income whatsoever.

    Cheers

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      You will be paid Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay at the rate you indicated, less attorney fees. Your Social Security Disability (SSD) will be offset (reduced) by the SSI paid for overlapping months. Because your SSI was higher than your Social Security, you will not receive any SSD for May 2013 through April 2014. You should receive Social Security back pay for April 2012 through April 2013 because you did not have SSI in those months. The attorney fee should be based on the net SSD paid to you after offset. Based on your statement that your SSI is currently $721, Your ongoing income will be $355 SSD and $386 SSI for a total of $741.00. (SSI doesn’t count the first $20 of income.)

      Best regards,

      Kay

  18. susan says:

    I have beed disabled since 2009. and in 2013 I hired a company to help me with my disabilty case over a year ago but SSI sent me my paper work directly and I did all of the leg work SSI even told me when I had to go for my medical evaluaton. Of course I was denied the first time around and I had to tell the company about it because they did not recieve the letter themselves. So they started the appeal for me but again SSI was in direct contact with me. A few months went by and desides to call the company to find out that they dropped my case because I could not afford to go to the doctor nor a car to get there. Now on my own I was approved and got the minimal amount of money and onlt 3 months of retroactive pay. What should I do about this and can I fight it? Sorry about the spelling it happens when I get upset. I am so disappointed and feel hopeless I have no one to help me at all.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      I cannot understand the time frames or situation well enough to provide reliable guidance. It sounds as if your first claim was denied because you did not attend a consultative examination. If you did not appeal that denial and had to apply again, payment would be made based on the second application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  19. Kris says:

    Kay

    We applied for SSI for our 6 year old daughter in January 2014. Just heard back from them today and they said 120.50 for just the month of April. I am OK with it, I guess…however is it smart to appeal it? We are a one income household. And we are going to start the gluten/casein diet for her. It costs a lot. Plus all the things that we need to get her for example weighted blanket, weighted vest, and other sensory things for her. I just would like to know if I being selfish? I know it goes on income and was not expecting $1,000 but maybe something a little more than she was approved for. No back pay for my little one either.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kris,

      I am assuming that nothing is payable for February and March because your family income was too high. Otherwise, it would seem a couple months back pay would be due. With regard to ongoing benefits, you are right, family income determines payment amount not the cost of special needs. You might try contacting the March of Dimes or other non-profits to see if you can get some assistance in purchasing some of her medically related durable equipment.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  20. Marsha says:

    I just found out my child has been aproved for Ssi on June 6 in I went to the office June 13 to give my bank in income information when will I see the money

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marsha,

      Depending on the workload of the office, our son’s SSI payment will be issued anywhere within a couple weeks to a couple months.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  21. Magdala says:

    Kay,
    I am a 22 years old who had a stroke due to complications related to my sickle sell disease. I have been approved for SSI one month ago. Today I received a letter from SSA telling me that I have an appointment set in a couple of days to review my case. They also ask me to bring proof of income for anyone else in my household.
    My mother does not work, my father works and makes around $27.000 a year my sister works part time as a nurse and makes around $33.000.
    Do you think those incomes combined will affect my financial eligibility?
    PS: There are four of us living in the house and mortgage and utilities are around $1.400.00 a month.(food not included)
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Magdala,

      Unless your application was filed before you turned eighteen, your parents’ and sister’s income does not affect your eligibility for Supplement Security Income (SSI). If they are supporting you by giving you free shelter and food, then your SSI will be reduced by one third for in-kind income. If, when your benefits start, you begin to pay your share of shelter and/or food costs, your benefit could be increased. If you were under age eighteen when you filed your application, then your parent’s income will be considered in determining your eligibility for months before your eighteenth birthday.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  22. Kimberly Brooks says:

    I applied for ssi on Feb 19 2014 I was approved medically June 7 and on June 27 had my interview to update info. My case worker never mentioned back pay I had to bring it up. My bf I was living with in Feb but moved out in march. She asked for proff of his income that month and proof of cash assistance had stopped in may from the state. She told me that my first check should be in the mail box by Friday. But she needed those papers to calculate my back pay. How will this affect my back pay and how long will it take. I also never got a awards letter.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      I would not have expected a request for verification of your boyfriend’s income because his income is not deemed available to you. The termination of your public assistance means none of your back pay for May and June will withheld to repay the state. It can take from a week or two to a couple of months to get your back pay depending upon workloads at the time. You will get an award letter after all your benefits have been calculated.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  23. Dave says:

    i was approved for SSI got the approval letter and all and today i did the interview over the phone she asked me about income and all that cause being i was disabled 6 years ago i have had to stay at my parents cause i couldnt afford to live on my own at the time but they only went back as far as 2012 well my moms bills only come out to like 840 a month cause she pretty much owns everything but i have had no money to pay her so im thinking this counts as the inkind help thing but now does this effect me badly cause she pay so little cause i am really wanting to get out of here and on my own and the way the lady sounded was like it was a bad thing she only paid out that much a month

    • Dave says:

      sorry forgot to mention i do pay for my own food i am on that snap program

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dave,

      The only way that “your mother’s” expenses, which I interpret to be shelter expenses, affect your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim is to determine how much in-kind help you have been getting. If there are three of you in the house, then your share is one-third. However, there is a cap on the amount of support that will be charged. If you have no other income, the least you would receive would be $480 monthly. You can use your first back pay installment to pay moving costs and to begin to pay all your own expenses. Two months later, your SSI will go up to $721 if you have no other income.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. wanda says:

    I live in Texas and my 6 y/o granddaughter was approved for SSI benefits. I was approved on July 3 and was told that monthly benefits is 486. She doesn’t have any other income. I have legal custody. I was told that my income does’t count since I am the grandparent. How is SSI benefits calculated. I know someone that recieves 720 month for their child. When can I expect to recieve 1st check?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Wanda,

      Your granddaughter’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has been reduced because you are providing her with in-kind support and maintenance in the form of free shelter and possibly free food. When her SSI starts, if you start to use her SSI to pay her share of food and shelter (rent or mortgage and utilities, excluding phone and cable), her SSI can be increased. Her share is the total cost for shelter and food divided by the number of people in the household.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  25. Janine says:

    Kay,

    Thank you for providing so much valuable help and information.

    I am a single Mom, my son is about to turn 18 very soon, so I did a little Google search to find out what to expect when he turns 18.

    What seemed to be a simple search has turned into a full days worth of research and reading comments and posts from both SSI specialists (Usually Attorney sites) and posts from people who are in a similar situation.

    My son has Down Syndrome, and requires 24 hour protective supervision because of incidences that could have caused him harm if unsupervised.

    That being said, I have read several posts of people stating that when a disabled person turns 18, unless they move out and pay rent on their own, their benefits will be decreased because of living at home.

    My son can not be expected to work, he is still a child in many areas and he needs help in doing many tasks. I still have to bathe him, prepare his food, wash his clothes, etc…He simply is not be capable of being left “anywhere” and expected to perform at a job. There are many DS people who can, but not my son.

    My question is, though, he is not capable of working, can I still use his money towards food and the mortgage, etc? If he lives here free, then it is counted against him and he would receive less money.

    Our money is budgeted, but he is very well taken care of, probably better than most kids. My son is my reason for living, I adore him. He gets new clothes and items he wants to keep him content before I get things I want…so his money is not being spent on me or only for bills.

    **Side note, after the reading I’ve done today, I am suddenly saddened as to what will happen to him if something happens to me.

    He has family, but nobody loves him or gives him the individual one on one time like I do. His older sister is very protective of him, and does love him to no end, but she is struggling to find her way in the world…His uncles, love him from a distance, never include him or take much interest in him…His grandparents love him to pieces, but they are 65, and 75 yrs old…they couldn’t care for him for as long as he would need caring for.

    This troubles me so.

    I get it that you’re not a counselor, lol, but do you have any ideas of what people do in our circumstance? I’m terrified of putting him in a home…he’s too active and adventurous, he needs to go places and do things, talk to people and be loved on and accepted. We go to church twice a week and that is one of his favorite things to do. He gets so excited to see our church friends.

    Well, thank you for your time,

    Janine

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Janine,

      I’ll respond to your financial question first. You seem to be indicating that you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for your son now. If that is the case, before he turns eighteen, you need to apply to have his benefits continued as an adult because the definition of disability is different for adults. If he does have SSI now, beginning with the month that he turns eighteen, use his funds to pay his share of shelter and food costs and his SSI will not be reduced. (His share is the cost of food and rent or mortgage and utilities excluding phone divided by the number of people in the household.

      With regard to the care of your son when you are no longer able to care for him (which will eventually happen if he outlives you), I suggest that you contact support groups and associations for families with Downs Syndrome children. There is probably a wealth of information available about resources for care and legal considerations to be sure he is cared for.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. kyesha says:

    After I get approved how long do I wait to receive the check in the mail

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kyesha,

      The amount of time to receive payment after approval varies greatly depending on whether you applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both and on the workload in your local office. It can vary from a couple weeks to two months or more for monthly payments to start. Back pay takes longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  27. Lori says:

    Hi Kay!
    Thank you so much for all of this information!
    I have a couple questions. I had my hearing last week for SSI and SSDI. My atty feels very confident that I won my case, but my first concern is that SSI is going to hold up my SSDI back pay longer, which of course will be the largest sum, and I am in dire need of income.

    As I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong… since I applied near the end of Oct. 2012, and we made my onset date as Sept. 2012, I would technically only be eligible for 3 months of SSI, correct?

    I have had no earned income since Aug. 2012, the only way I have survived is by donations by friends and family and they have had fundraisers for me during this time. I am single, and live alone, so there is no other source of money in my home. My 2nd concern is how do I prove this to SSI? Of course they know I haven’t worked, but I have a mortgage and utilities to pay and I honestly don’t remember what was paid during those months with what was donated to me because I’ve juggled cut off notices for almost 2 yrs now!

    I’m soooo tired of the fight and hassle of everything and upon my approval, I would just like to get a payment because now my home is about to go into foreclosure and again have all cut off notices and all of my resources from family/friends are exhausted. I even inquired about waiving my SSI to speed up the SSI but my atty didn’t like that idea, so I called SSI locally and they really wouldn’t answer any questions either. So I’m at a loss. :(

    What do you think about all of this?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lori,

      There are many things to consider before deciding to withdraw your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Potentially you could be eligible for SSI that would not reduce Social Security back pay for five months before Social Security starts. Those months are October 2012 through February 2013. If people were giving you money for that period and you don’t know how much or from whom, you would likely be denied benefits for those months. If they were paying your mortgage and utilities directly and not giving you any cash and you were getting food stamps, then Social Security would reduce SSI for those months by one-third. SSI that is paid for months after that–up until Social Security gets paid–will cause a reduction in your Social Security back pay.

      You have the right to withdraw your application for SSI; however, I would not do so until you are medically approved by the judge because you want to know for sure that you have also been medically approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) (became disabled while insured for benefits) before you withdraw your SSI. Once you have the judge’s approval letter for SSDI, you can take the letter and a written statement withdrawing the SSI application. All that said, it might not get money to you sooner. It could speed up the Social Security faster than if you had SSI also; but if you keep the SSI claim open, you might get the SSI money faster than a Social Security-only claim because SSI benefits are authorized locally. Another consideration is if you can gather the information together about who helped you financially and you are financially eligible for SSI, SSI is not taxable and Social Security is partially taxable if your yearly income is over $25,000.

      While you wait for your hearing decision, I suggest that you contact your mortgage holder and tell them that you have finally had your hearing and your attorney thinks it went well. Tell them you should have a decision in about two months and that, if approved, you will be getting back pay to cover the mortgage arrears. Perhaps they will hold off on the foreclosure. Then when you get the approval letter, go back to them with it to prove you will have money coming in and ask for another extension until you get benefits started. If you don’t have a decision in two months, go back and tell them you are still waiting. Check with the hearing office first to see if the letter is in the writing department and coming soon. Regarding utilities, contact social service agencies in your area to see if any have utility assistance to keep the lights and water on.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. Kendra T says:

    I receive SSDI, my 2 kids draw on my record as well as my husband as he was unemployed. My one child gets SSI, $458. Husband is just now picking up a job, so now there will be earned income. It’s only part time though. I do know I have to report these changes, but I’m waiting until I get his first check to be able to show them. Husband will be doing 20 hours/wk at $10/hr. I am concerned as to if my child that gets SSI, will she completely lose her SSI now because my husband will get approximately $800/mo in income? I don’t know how their calculations work, but any information you can provide? No other situation has changed.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kendra,

      First, your husband’s projected earnings are not high enough to affect his Social Security dependent benefits. With regard to your child’s SSI, part of his earnings will be excluded as a work incentive. Based on the figures you provided, a small amount may also be excluded to supplement his and your non-disabled child’s Social Security. You can find a sample calculation in the article “What are Deemed Income and Resources and How Do They Affect an SSI Application for Children?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  29. Kerri says:

    We have six children (one is an adult over 18 who does not reside with is). Two of our children have been deemed medically eligible to receive SSI payments last week. I worked up until February when I lost my job and applied. We had to move in with my husbands parents and pay $350 a month plus we buy all

  30. Kerri says:

    Of our own food, supplies and have our t

  31. Kerri says:

    Sorry I keep hitting the wrong button. We pay $350 in rent and buy our own food, supplies as well as have a van that we own. I was getting $1200 a month in unemployment but that stopped right when my husband got a job and he brings in about $1100 a month. I have my in person interview next week and want to know what exactly I needed to bring in and does my husband make too much for us to qualify financially?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kerri,

      I think that part of your inquiry may be in another comment that you accidentally deleted. I assume from this comment that you are inquiring about the possibility of your getting supplemental Security Income. Based the limited information you provided, it appears you could qualify for a reduced amount of SSI during the months that you were not getting unemployment and your husband was working. Take proof of your rent payment and, if you have minor children in the household, information about any income they may have. If anyone other than you, your husband, and your minor children live at your house, you will be asked about your other shelter and food expenses. Also take copies of your bank statements going back to when you applied, life insurance policies and proof of any other assets.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  32. Ravyn says:

    I was recently approved on ssi followed by ssdi been fighting it since Feb 2012. Im assuming that because of the credits from working in the past they said approved but only through March 2014. Question is that because thats all they approved me for feb 2012 to mar 2014 and that i ran out of work credit? Also I have a date set to go into the local office here and to bring the following which was one thing a trusted family member or trusted friend to be my payee. Now the letter said i might have some problems managing my money so that it is recommended I have a payee, I am 43 am I obligated to that or not since it says recommended and not required?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ravyn,

      You only have to be insured on the date you became disabled. If the determination is that your benefits will stop with the March 2014 payment, it means that it has been determined that you have not been disabled since that date. If you disagree, you have the right to appeal the termination of benefits. You must appeal within sixty days.

      You can appeal having a payee. If you believe that you are capable of handling your own funds and have the judgment to pay for necessities such as housing and food before other things, I suggest that you discuss this with your doctor. If you doctor agrees, take a letter from him with you to Social Security. They will perhaps make direct payment to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  33. Anndrea says:

    My fiance has never worked because of his disability. He was just recently approved by disability judge. If hes never worked how do they find out what his benefits will be.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anndrea,

      Apparently your fiance has been approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. SSI benefits are determined on a month-by-month basis. The maximum federal SSI benefit is currently $721 and actual benefits are based on the income your fiance has including the value of any free housing or food he is receiving (excluding government-subsidized housing and food stamps).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  34. Anthony says:

    Hi. I am 25 going on 26 in October. I was born Epilepric and had seizures all my life, but when i turned 18 I was able to work a couple of jobs here and there until i turned 20 my seizures have gotton worse. I would get them at work and at home. Until one day at work July of 2012 i got a seizure and woke up in the hospital. My doctor took me off of work every 3 months to see if i get better with medication and i was starting to get unemployment for one year. Then they stopped paying me in August 2014. I applied for SSI a week ago. Would all my years affect my SSI and i have a 2 year old son, and my wife is working 2 jobs. With my unemployment money which is $740 a month. I had to pay $500 rent plus $100 on cell phone bill and what ever i have left goes to food. My wife pays for our sons stuff also the babysitters. Would i get approved and or recive money.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anthony,

      If you have worked enough to be insured for Social Security and your condition is disabling as defined by Social Security law, you will be approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI). Because of your limited work history, your SSDI benefit, if you are approved, may not be high enough to also pay dependent benefits for your son or wife. If you have enough work, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The maximum federal SSI benefit is $721 and SSI does not pay dependent benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  35. Chell says:

    My brother applied for Disability back in Nov 2012. He was denied March 2013. We hired a attorney and they filed a appeal March 2013. He just received a letter from his hearing that he won his case. My question is my brother has been living in our parents home both parents are now deceased and the house is now in foreclosure. My brother continues to live there until the foreclosures is done because he has no money to go anywhere else. He refuses to live with me because I have 5 kids and he doesn’t want to be a burden. He gets monthly SNAP and he goes over friends house to warm food and shower. Will he get the full $721 at first and when it’s time for him to move and he lives with someone else will his payments be decreased. I’m trying to see if I should start taking him to look for rooms or not but want to make sure he will be able to pay rooming fees once he starts getting check.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chell,

      If your brother has been approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), his living arrangement will not affect the amount of his benefit. If he has been approved for Supplemental Security Income payment (SSI), then living arrangements can affect payment amount.

      For SSI your brother might be considered to essentially be homeless given he is living in a house without utilities. It is possible that the shelter has no market value given that it has no utilities. I suggest providing proof of the his parents dates of death and proof that the house is in foreclosure and without services. Even if Social Security determines that his SSI has to be reduced for free shelter, he will have retroactive benefits that should cover his being able to rent an apartment or rooms using the back pay. Once he has paid for his own shelter for two months, the monthly SSI will go up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  36. tanya says:

    My daughee was diagnosed with bipolar with psychosis features, insomnia, adhd, disruptive behavior. I’ve been denied 4 times and went to v for appeal, since then I actually reapplied bc I had new evidence to intruduce, she’s now 8 and was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward twice, has had lithium intoxicaton and hospitalized for that and also has been placed in a special behavioral school! We are a 5 family with one income, approximately 27,000 a year! My rent is 1,600 alone if I get approved what do u think I will get?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tanya,

      If the family income is work earnings, I estimate that your daughter’s benefit would be between three and four hundred dollars a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  37. frustrated says:

    She’s also on 9 medications a day for her mental health!

  38. Paul says:

    Hi, thank you for your responses and wealth of information. I think I know this answer, but am hopeful you can help. Our daughter who is 18 and is disabled, was approved for ssi a few weeks ago. She lives with us, a total of 5 of us in the household. Today we were told they only considered our mortgage and will receive $480. As I understand it, the mortgage, food and utilities (minus phone/cable) are to be included and in our case divided by 5, would that be correct? Our totals for all of that are around $3400 putting the 1/5th amount around 670…we also were told by a lawyer who is doing our special needs trust, that if you fall between the $480-$721 you should go to the $721 amount.

    Any thoughts or suggestions, thank you in advance.
    Paul

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paul,

      If you daughter eats with the family and does not purchase food separately and her share is $670, then the amount she gets depends on how much she is paying toward that share. For example, if she were paying $500, then the maximum SSI of $721 would be reduce by $170, which is the value of the housing and food subsidy you are giving her. If she is paying nothing, then she would be receiving $670 free food and shelter; however the government caps the reduction at one third of the maximum. This means that the reduction in 2014 is $240 and the amount payable is $481. If, when your daughter starts to get benefits, she uses her back pay to pay her share, after two months of paying her share, her benefit will increase to $721.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  39. JC says:

    Hello Kay! Thank you for your valuable information. You’re wonderful!
    Please excuse my ignorance. I would ask my local office but they seem swamped.

    I applied for SSI on behalf of my son on June 2014. (“As of June 2014 he met all of the eligibility rules) He was approved in September (That’s when I got the confirmation letter). I’m confused about what month of my income counts toward his monthly payment.

    He received back pay from July-September. The letter says, “This payment covers July-September.” Was his first payment included in the backpay? Would the payment received on October 1 be based on my income from August?
    The months seem weird to me as my income fluctuates and in August I had 3 pay stubs to turn in. The Oct 1 payment was much larger than I anticipated and only today (10-2) I reported wages for September and have already received notice of what to expect to receive for November.

    If any of this makes sense to you, I would appreciate your decoding. I can give more information as needed.

    • JC says:

      Also, please excuse grammar mistakes.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear JC,

      Income for calculating Supplemental Security Income is counted as follows: Income is always counted when received. Income received in the first month of eligibility counts for the first, second and third months. After that income received counts two months later. (This is done to avoid overpayments. If you report your income on time and it’s below the limit, your child will be paid correctly.) This means that your July income determined your son’s payment in July, August, and September. Your August income determined the October payment and your September income determinesthe November payment. If you ever have a month in which your income makes your son ineligible, then the pattern starts over and the income you receive in the first month he is again eligible will count for three months. Example: Your earnings exceed the limit for payment in February but drops below the limit again in March. This would mean your son would be ineligible and overpaid for February and your March income would determine his payment amount for March, April, and May.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JC says:

        Okay! This is very confusing to me. Being new to the system they allowed me to turn in paystubs for August in September. Could that cause overpayment in October? If so, how to correct that?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear JC,

          Depending on the timing of your paydays, some months you would have to turn in the pay stubs the following month. It’s best to turn them in as early as possible so that they can be processed in time to produce accurate payments every month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  40. Latoya says:

    Hey Kay my son was approved in july 2014 for ssi benefits and i had to bring back paperwork about my income and i did, he still haven’t receive anything or no information. my question is how long do it take for them to issue out payments? every time i call the local office they keep giving me the run around is there anyone else i could talk to about this situation.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Latoya,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are authorized in your local Social Security office. You could go to the office and ask to speak to a supervisor and ask the supervisor to look into your claim because you submitted the last information needed for the SSI claim three months earlier.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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