Requested SSDI hearing, benefits stopped anyway
April 16, 2014 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I requested an SSDI hearing within the amount of time needed to continue my benefits. I spoke with the office twice, in person, to ensure that I had done what I needed to to continue my benefits. As my benefits didn't arrive today, I have done some frantic searching and determined that SSA never gave me the form that said, yes please, I would like benefits continuing, although I have proof as to when I asked for the appeal.

This is in a variety of ways an emergency situation -- e.g., no money for food or medicine. YANML, but how should I best proceed when I go to the office again tomorrow?

Thanks so much, really bad situation, appreciate all available feedback.
posted by angrycat to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Based upon your location in your profile, you should call or go in to see these folks. Their website says they won't appeal denials of benefits, but it's not clear from your post that this is actually a denial of an application, rather than your benefits being stopped for some other reason (such as an overpayment). If I'm wrong about that, and this is really a denial of an initial application for SSDI benefits, then apparently you need to contact the Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 215-238-6333.

The reason I suggest the above course of action is that SSA times for appeals are incredibly strict, and you really need to know what you're dealing with before you go in to see the SSA people again. Also, Legal Services might have some thoughts about helping you apply for emergency cash assistance to help you through.

I'm really sorry this is happening to you, and I wish you luck.
posted by lassie at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2014

By all means talk to those folks, but also speak with your local Representative's office (or one of your Senators if they have a better reputation for constituent service). Even if they can't directly intervene, they'll have a very good idea of what bureaucratic buttons to push.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:00 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

While you are sorting it out, see if you can't get emergency help with food from a food pantry (local listing, based on your location in profile) and call 211 to find out what other emergency services might help you get through this. You could also call the library and see if they have any handouts on emergency services. They sometimes do.
posted by Michele in California at 1:06 PM on April 16, 2014

I just spoke to an attorney in our Aging & Disabilities unit, and she's pretty sure you should come into CLS for intake, not PLA (we are affiliated.) I highly recommend that you come in for intake on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9 AM - 12 PM to our N. Philly office (1410 W. Erie Ave, right off the Broad Street Line.) I'm unfortunately not sure if our downtown office (1424 Chestnut St.) handles A&D intake - you can call them at (215) 981-3700 ahead of time and ask. Good luck.
posted by black_lizard at 1:49 PM on April 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

also speak with your local Representative's office (or one of your Senators if they have a better reputation for constituent service). Even if they can't directly intervene, they'll have a very good idea of what bureaucratic buttons to push.

Seconding this. They have a lot of people on staff whose whole job is "constituent relations" and if you have a good timeline of what you said to who when and what you are expecting you'll be head and shoulders above a lot of the constituents that they will be dealing with. Call when you get up and be firm in what you want done (did not get benefits today, did not receive proper form despite filling out all paperwork I was given, need benefits to continue while this is sorted out) and stay with it and they should be able to help you if you're stuck dealing with intractable bureaucrats. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 1:51 PM on April 16, 2014

You say that you "asked" for a hearing, or for an appeal, and that you "requested" a hearing and "spoke with" an office, but you also say that you did not submit the needed form. These things have to be done in writing, by filing the form that the SSA wants. Phone calls and personal visits won't be enough.
posted by yclipse at 5:17 PM on April 16, 2014

If you contacted your SSA Office and requested a hearing, on what I understand from your question is a termination of benefits, AND specifically discussed your desire to have your benefits continue during the process you MAY be able to resolve this with a call and/or visit to the local office you spoke with. In my experience there is almost always a memorandum made of discussions with claimants/recipients and the workers in the offices are not really looking for ways to keep you from benefits. Note that some recipients do not want benefits continued pending appeals because there is an obligation to repay if your appeal is not successful.

Your local legal services office may provide representation in cases such as this. I would start with a phone call to SSA to see if you can easily resolve it and then proceed to legal representation if needed. I would also suggest not delaying taking these steps.
posted by uncaken at 6:14 PM on April 16, 2014

Response by poster: Update, based on insomniac googling and reading of regulations:

Contrary to what I thought, SSD does not continue upon appeal of a termination if said termination is on SGA grounds -- i.e., earned income. It doesn't matter if one argues that SSA got the amounts wrong or didn't apply exemptions properly, both of which I am.

There is, however, an expedited process for reinstatement of benefits, and I am going to pursue that today (with probable success), as well as a request for waiver of overpayment. So, with that and a help of a friend, I'll be able to get what I need.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts.

NOTE: The SSA does not fuck around.
posted by angrycat at 5:51 AM on April 17, 2014

Response by poster: Oh, and I'm following up with Community Legal Services tomorrow, thanks for that referral
posted by angrycat at 5:56 AM on April 17, 2014

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