Social Security filter: got back pay that seemed legit at first, but now am not sure. Thoughts?
posted by dubious_dude to Law & Government (7 answers total)
So, a long story short, I'm Deaf; disabled under SSI (Social Security Income) rules. I worked for one and an half year, from x 2012 through x 2013. The income I earned from working was too high for me to go back on SSI until a couple or so months ago. I had an appointment several weeks ago, got it all worked out, explained my income situation and how the money in my bank account had reduced and how now, I'm ready for my SSI to reinstate (until/if I find another job). I was asked to explain my income history, etc, and then I was told I would get 3 months back pay for January, February, and March 2014. I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind, because I was definitely over $2,000 (the SSI resource limit) during those months, but I thought I had made it clear to the employee I was working with, so I assumed it was a legit backpay and left. A few days after the appointment, I received the expected back pay in my bank account.
Today, I got a letter explaining that I was due back pay for...
-two months that is over three years ago!
-rest of months in 2014 until my first real SSI pay this month (I think) that would come 6 months later
I was completely taken aback by this letter. Here's why: I was definitely over the resource limit for those two months over three years ago. I had already communicated this with SSI. Also, I was over the resource limit for January, as well as a couple of the months that the future (uncommunicated to me in person at the appointment) back pay would cover. I was told the back-pay would be for months in 2014, not three years ago.
I know the obvious answer would be to go to the office in person, or call and clear this up. However, I don't want to lose the back pay, as it has really helped me financially, and given me financial peace of mind, and the letter says something to the event of "this decision supersedes past decisions", which kind of makes me assume that even though I was over the resource limit in those referenced months in the letter (and common sense should prevail that as I was asked my income history, the month after I stopped working probably would still put me over the resource limit), it does not count. I was also never told about the additional months back pay coming in six months in person, at my appointment.
I do not want to end up having to owe SSI money down the road, if they find out that the backpay was inaccurate, so I want to clear this up without having to face headaches down the road. To further complicate matters, I may have a freelance gig, so not sure how that would work with SSI. I'm thinking about just not continuing with the freelance gig, so it doesn't complicate things with SSI. (I would earn approximately $1000 or so per month with the freelance gig.) I also don't want getting a job down the road (that is, a full-time or at least permanent job) to further complicate things with SSI. Also, wait times at the office is insanely long, and this seems like a silly matter that should be easily resolved, or at least cleared up, but I'm just not sure.
I've had a few other confusion with SSI in the past, mostly due to their (allegedly) antiquated systems, and some headaches. I'm tired of having to deal with that, but right now, I don't have a choice, as finding a job has been next to impossible for me.
I need help/insight/guidance in navigating this issue. Am I right to worry about this? Or should I just assume the lady helping me at the SSA knew what she was doing, understood my situation in full (should've, the information was right there in front of her on the computer screen), and that this backpay is legit?
Thanks. Information is intentionally kept vague due to security, but if you want further information, i'll try my best to furnish it. And, I understand you aren't my lawyer, SSA representative, etc. When I say resources, I mean money in my bank account.