Every Tuesday, Social Security Attorney Taylor Potts will expose some of the more frequent myths surrounding Social Security Benefits. Be sure to “like” our Facebook page and stop back each week as Attorney Potts takes you through The Twilight Zone – Social Security Style. If you have questions about Social Security Disability or VA Disability benefits, contact Attorney Taylor Potts at (304) 845-9750.
You are about to enter a land beyond what many of us know. A land that could almost be considered a different dimension. A dimension of medical records, vocational classifications, administrative law judges, and functional limitations. Strap yourself in and get ready as we enter the twilight zone of Social Security Disability benefits.
WARNING! PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Social Security Disability can be a strange and confusing land, but allow me to be your guide as we (hopefully) shed some of this mystery and bring it back into the realm of reality. In this series, we will take some of the most common (12 to be exact) misunderstandings, or myths, about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income and help explain why these myths are not necessarily true and why the myths became so pervasive.
MONTHLY PAYMENTS ARE NOT IMMEDIATE
Most people assume once they are considered disabled and approved for disability benefits by the Social Security Administration that they will immediately begin receiving payments, or that they are entitled to start receiving benefits on the day they are found disabled. This is unfortunately not the case.
In terms of receiving your first payment and your back pay, it may take up to two (2) additional months from the date of approval for you to receive your first payment. After medical approval by a Social Security examiner or administrative law judge, the claim must then be passed on to the regional payment center. The regional payment center will determine the amount of the monthly payment the claimant is entitled to receive, the total amount of past due benefits/back pay available, along with any deductions (such as Medicare premiums, reductions for other benefits received, or even things such as back child support or other attachment).
Once this is done, the payment center will put your benefits out for payment. If the payment center does not complete its activities in time for the date your monthly payment would be paid on, Social Security will simply wait until the next month to begin paying your benefits.
DIFFERENT BENEFITS, DIFFERENT ENTITLEMENT DATES
The payment center’s process is not the only reason your benefits may not begin as quickly as you might expect. Depending on your benefit type, there may also be a waiting period before you are entitled to payments, regardless of when you are determined disabled.
For instance, if you are receiving Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), there is a five (5) month waiting period from the day you become disabled until you are entitled to receive your first monthly payment. Thus, if you are found disabled in January of a given year, you would not be entitled to your first payment until June of that year. This is compounded by the fact that Social Security pays disability insurance benefits in the month after they are accrued, meaning that June’s payment would not be paid until July and so on. Thus, while there is a five (5) month waiting period from the onset of disability, your entitlement to a first payment would not be until seven (7) months after onset.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is significantly more forgiving. Under SSI, individuals are not required to meet the five (5) month waiting period. Instead, payments may begin the month after disability is determined. However, benefits are still paid for the previous month so an additional month is still added onto your wait. Meaning that you will be entitled to your first payment two (2) months after the date on which you are determined disabled.
While different benefit types have different rules, as highlighted above by SSI and Disability Insurance, most Social Security disability programs do not require the extended waiting period. Instead they follow SSI and are paid with only the two (2) month delay.
Despite this, do not get confused and think that you will always have to wait out these periods upon approval. The waiting period only applies from the date your disability is determined to have begun and not from when your benefits are approved by Social Security. Most individuals fight with Social Security to obtain benefits and are thus approved after any waiting period has passed, meaning they are entitled to and would receive monthly payments once the payment center has processed their claim.
WE CAN’T STOP WAITING PERIODS, BUT WE CAN LIMIT THEM!
It is true that an attorney cannot change the required waiting periods. However, things can be done to minimize their impact on your monthly benefits and your back pay amounts. Gold, Khourey & Turak can assist with ensuring that you are applying for all benefits you may be entitled to, thus obtaining benefits that begin payments sooner and reduce your waiting period. It is also important to properly handle your disability onset date so as to limit how far any waiting period pushes payments into the future. This is an important factor to obtaining monthly payments sooner and obtaining the maximum amount of back pay entitlement.
Making these determinations can often be confusing, but you are not alone. Contact Gold, Khourey & Turak now at (304) 845-9750 for a free consultation. We have the experience and knowledge to ensure that you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to and to help maximize and quicken your payments. Your consultation is free and there is no fee until we win benefits for you.
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