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Interim Assistance Reimbursement

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2186. Interim Assistance Reimbursement

2186.1 What is "interim assistance"?

"Interim assistance" is cash or vendor payments furnished by States or political subdivisions to you for meeting basic needs while your application for SSI is pending.

2186.2 How does interim assistance affect your benefit payment?

We may withhold the retroactive SSI payments due you at the time the first payment is made when:

  1. We receive a written authorization from you or the State; or

  2. We receive notice from the State that it has such an authorization, if the automated authorization notification procedure applies.

We may then send the first check to a State or political subdivision. The State or political subdivision can use the check to reimburse itself for interim assistance furnished on your behalf and return anything left over to you. However, when the Law requires SSA to control the distribution of an underpayment due you, SSA does not send your retroactive SSI payment directly to the State. In these situations, SSA asks the State to inform it about the amount that the State is due for interim assistance it gave to you. Any remaining money due you is paid to you in a lump sum or in installments, as provided by law.

2186.3 What is the scope of interim assistance?

Effective January 1, 1989, the definition of interim assistance was expanded to cover aid provided by States or political subdivisions to individuals:

  1. Whose SSI benefits are suspended or terminated; and

  2. Are later found eligible for payments.

Last Revised: Jan. 20, 2006


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