I got a ticket to work and there is no mention of when I am to get my back pay

"I have a question / concern. I have a SSDI case that went to an ALJ after 3 long years. I won the SSDI case. I am to receive my first check next week *but* last week I got a ticket to work and there is no mention of when I am to get my back pay. The award letter said the review frequency was to be every 3 years. What is going on? Nothing has changed in 60 days and in fact I have some physical stuff that has me incapacitated in addition to the mental stuff. Right now I'd settle for being able to walk or being able to lift let alone be in my right mind. And they want me to go to work????? What is really going on?"

I can understand your complete confusion with regard to receiving a ticket to work sixty days after Social Security has found that you are unable to work. The government is not always logical in its approach to things, so lets see if I can shed some light on your situation.

Firstly, with regard to their letter stating that the review frequency for your disability claim will be every three years, this is really nothing to be concerned about. It is a normal part of disability and all disability beneficiaries receive a review diary. Some disability recipients receive three year diaries while others receive seven year diaries. Unfortunately these diary dates often have no bearing on what an individual's disabling condition is.

For the most part, younger individuals (under the. age of 55) receive three year diaries and seven year diaries are reserved for conditions for which there is absolutely no chance of medical improvement. Most individuals who are approved for disability benefits at the administrative law judge hearing have nothing to be concerned about so long as their doctor or work activity does not indicate medical improvement.

Since administrative law judges use generally use a more flexible interpretation of disability rules and guidelines (from an examiner's standpoint), there is little chance a Social Security Disability examiner can prove medical improvement.

Secondly, the "ticket to work" is given to most disability beneficiaries to encourage their return to work. It does not mean that Social Security considers you able to work. It just means that if you want to attempt work activity you could possibly use your ticket to work in order to do so. Social Security has not had much success with the ticket to work program. If fact, it really has been a miserable failure.

Lastly, your disability benefit back payment may take some time to process. It depends on many factors, including what disability programs you are entitled to. If you are entitled to both Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability there are more complex computations involved in determining what your back pay is from each program.

Even if you are not dually-entitled, your back disability payment could be delayed by the time it takes the hearings office to get the decision written and sent to a Social Security payment center to be processed.

Additionally, some disability claim back payments are held up at the payment center. There is just no way to know why it has taken them more than sixty days to send your back pay. Social Security will send another letter when they are issuing your back pay outlining what months you're being paid for, what your ongoing disability benefit pay will be, and the amount of your disability back payment.

I hope this clarifies things a little bit for you and that you receive your disability back payment soon.

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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