Back Pay Due a Homeless Claimant

By / Supplemental Security Income / 10 Comments

Learn how families can handle Social Security payments for homeless relatives, how a parent can apply to be designated Payee and when back pay can be accessed to find living arrangements.

Dear Disability Advisor,

My Sister Was Approved 3 years ago but Was Homeless Living On The Streets. The Family Has Finally Found Her, So How Long Will It Take For Her To Get Her Disability Benefits When We Take Her To Social Security  Office And My Mom Be Her Payee?


Dear Collage,

Your mother can apply to be your sister’s payee. If her claim was approved with the need for a payee already determined, the application will suffice. If not, your mother could try to get a medical opinion of your sister’s capability to handle funds from a physician who has treated her recently. The opinion can be written up on an SSA-787 form, which is available at:

How long it will take your sister’s benefits to be issued depends on whether she is eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), which is issued by the program center, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is issued by the local office. If it is SSI, benefits could be issued within a month. If your sister needs more than the first installment of SSI back pay to get into an apartment, pay deposits, get basic furniture (bed, table, chair) or get medical care, she can request more be released than the 2017 standard $2,205. If the benefits are Social Security only, she can submit a dire need statement to be forwarded to the payment center, but it still is likely to be two months or more before benefits are issued.

The Disability Advisor

Back Pay Due a Homeless Claimant
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