Can I do What I want with my Social Security Back Pay?

"I want to know the rules about back pay. Things like what you are allowed to do with your back pay and what you aren't allowed to do with back pay. Am I allowed to just take the whole back pay out of the bank and do whatever I want?"

Social Security never deducts money from back pay except for fee withholding, in which they hold the fee that is due to an attorney (or a non-attorney who has been approved for withholding) for providing representation on your claim.

As far as back pay rules regarding what you can do with your back pay, there are no rules if you are entitled to a back payment of Social Security Disability benefits.

However, if your back payment is based upon entitlement to SSI, there are rules that apply. Remember, SSI disability entitlement is based upon need so there are income and resource limits. Therefore, Social Security releases SSI disability back pay in increments rather than all at one time. If an individual needs some of their back pay between those scheduled releases they must be in a dire situation such as "loss of home".

If you are not sure if your claim was filed in the Social Security Disability or SSI disability program (or both programs if you have a concurrent claim), you may wish to contact the social security office where your claim was taken.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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