If you’ve filed a disability application or appeal, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the process takes time. Because of the incredible volume of applications that the Social Security Administration receives each year, the agency may not get to your case until a few weeks or months after you file it. In some cases, waiting for a decision or reward from SSA can take a year or more, and for those living in poverty, this can be disastrous. Thankfully, there are alternative resources you can try to tap into while awaiting a decision from the SSA on your Social Security application in Washington, D.C.
Most states provide public assistance, also known as “interim assistance” and “general assistance,” for those who qualify. Public assistance allows you to receive a monetary benefit in order to pay your expenses while you are awaiting a decision on your SSI or SSDI application. Sometimes, public assistance consists of payments made by the state agency directly to service providers; other states may provide Medicaid funding instead to those who are defined as “categorically medically needy”.
In order to receive interim assistance, you must first apply for SSI benefits; in order for your application to be approved, you must have a strong likelihood of receiving SSI benefits as well. The point, therefore, of interim assistance is that it assumes that you will get SSI benefits eventually, but that you just need some funding to tide you over until you get your decision back. Essentially, interim assistance is a long-term loan provided by your state; as a result, you will have to repay the funding that is provided to you while you are waiting for your decision from the SSA.
In order to be considered for interim assistance, you must fill out the interim assistance agreement with your state, which includes your pledge to pay back the state agency that provided the public assistance funding to you. The way this payment works is by deducting your interim assistance funds from the back pay that is sent to you when your SSI application is approved; the funds that are left over will be repaid to you by the state.
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