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SSI- Where's the check?

Recently on our disability forum we had a disability applicant ask, “When will I get my first Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check?” This is an optimistic question, but unless you have received a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which specifically states that you have been approved for disability benefits, you could be in for a long wait or you may never receive a check.

So what’s the hold up?

Assuming you meet the criteria for Supplemental Security Income (SSI): you have a severe health condition, you cannot work for at least 12 continuous months and your income and resource level is VERY low, than the best you can hope for is to have your SSI claim expedited.

The bad news is that there are very few cases which are expedited. In fact, unless you are terminal, you are a wounded warrior or your condition is on the Compassionate Allowance List you will have to wait in line like everyone else.

So how long are we talking? Unfortunately, it could take weeks, months or years to get benefits. Last year alone there were 3 million disability applications submitted to the SSA. While many of these were not valid claims and were immediately denied, thousands of others were valid claims.

This means for the millions of applications submitted the SSA the SSA had to review their medical records (requesting them from numerous treating doctors), wait for them to arrive and determine if the claimant was eligible for SSI benefits. All of this takes time, and with limited staff this means you can be in for a very long wait too. If you are denied and have to appeal your denial multiple times the wait can be over a year, assuming you are approved at all.

Is everyone approved for SSI?

No, most SSI applicants are never approved. Many disability applicants do not realize that SSI is not awarded to all claimants. Claimants must have very limited income and resources to qualify. Because SSI is not dependent on your work record and you do not have to pay employment taxes to receive SSI, it is only offered to individuals who have the most desperate need.

SSI suddenly terminated. How do I get it back?

Now, if you were getting SSI and your benefits were suddenly terminated you need to contact the SSA as soon as possible. The SSA can tell you exactly why your benefits were stopped. The most common reason SSI recipients lose benefits is because they either have starting working and making too much money, they moved in with someone providing food and shelter, they got married, or the SSA determined the claimant was no longer disabled.

Hiring a SSI disability lawyer

Can a disability lawyer help you get SSI disability faster? Disability lawyers cannot help you jump to the front of the disability processing line, but they can help you improve your chances of winning SSI at every step of the disability process. Disability lawyers generally offer free evaluations talk to one today.
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