If you have just been awarded Social Security Disability Benefits, here are a few things that you will want to keep in mind.
When do my payments start?
For Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), your payments cannot begin until you have been found disabled for at least five full calendar months, and on the sixth month you will receive your first payment. The Notice of Award you receive from Social Security will state what amount to expect and what day to expect a payment. The award amount varies depending on the program you receive benefits for. If you receive Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) this payment varies depending on the cost of living in your state (each state has a different amount). SSI payments begin right away. If you receive Disability Insurance Benefits this amount depends on the amount of work credits you have paid into Social Security. The amount is usually stated on an Earnings statement that is sent out by Social Security every couple of years while you are working. If you are not sure of the amount of work credits, you can always request an Earnings Statement from the Social Security Administration.
How long will my payments last?
You will continue to receive payments as long as your medical conditions continue to disable your ability to work. If your condition does get better and you realize you can go back to work your payments may stop. With this in mind your case gets reviewed in regular intervals to make sure that you are still disabled. This is done every few years and thus you must continue to seek medical attention from your doctors and follow all their recommendations. You are responsible for notifying Social Security if:
1) Your medical condition improves
2) There is a change in your ability to work
3) You return to work
What if I disagree with the decision?
If you have any doubts about your payment, immediately contact your local Social Security Office. If you disagree with a decision you always have the right to appeal. This must be done in writing and delivered to your local Social Security office within 60 days of the decision. You also have the right to hire an attorney to represent you, which could make the process much smoother on your part. Hiring an attorney is the best way to receive a favorable decision if you have not yet heard from Social Security as your attorney will stay on top of all paperwork and requests for Social Security and make sure that all your medical records have been received.