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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



There are 2 Comments

Dear Sir/mam
After a fight of six years, my case went before Supreme Court, which overturn decision and sent me back to S S administration Board Judge.
He granted me full S S D & a small amount of S S I , kids were in high school. He also went back 5 years to 2001. My monthly benefits started right away.I myself was eligible for S S D only, I was told I would receive four back lump sums, and the amounts.I received three of the four. I get a letter in the mail that there was a off set of $26,000 dollars, with S S I, which happen to be the amount of the fourth check. my kids received at most$7,000 total ,they were at adult age. I ask my lawyer and couple different people from social security, My lawyer said he knew there were off sets but never heard of one for such a high amount. the S.S. office said I had a S S I offset , and one said since my case, the administration had been paying back pay lump sum in a three to five year period. change in law.. I have waited and it will be five years this Sept ,2011... My question is the offset of $26,000 in the guide lines of off sets for S S I .If not how do I go about getting my fourth check , or amount after a correct amount on offset. Since I have not heard or received anything , I would like to be directed to which office I need, and ,or who to contact online in this matter. Thank you Sincerely
Ms Barth

It sounds like you received your decision regarding back payments around 2006. Note that around that time the process for SSI back payments changed. The following is an excerpt from the following link :

Question :

I have recently been approved to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, but I have been told that my back due benefits must be paid in installments. Why is this necessary?

Answer :

In 2006, the President signed S. 1932, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which requires that past-due monthly SSI benefits that exceed three times the maximum monthly benefit (Federal benefit rate plus State supplementary payment amount, if any) payable to the individual be paid in up to three installment payments, 6 months apart. The law also limits the amount of the first two installment payments to three times the maximum monthly benefit. All remaining benefits due are to be paid in the third installment 6 months later.

Consulting your local Social Security office is recommended.


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