If you win benefits, you will get Disability Insurance Benefits retroactively depending on the date that you applied and on the date the judge says you became disabled. For SSI, you can only get benefits as far back as the first day of the next month after your application.
The judge may also request that you have a "representative payee" if you have trouble handling money. This is a person who gets your checks on your behalf. If a representative payee is recommended you should think about who would be willing to help you in this way. SSA will ask for your suggestions.
What happens if I lose the hearing?
If you lose your hearing you can ask that your case be reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. You must make this request within 60 days of your unfavorable hearing decision. Your attorney will normally do this for you.
If the Appeals Council refuses to review your case or decides against you, you have another 60 days to appeal to the U.S. District Court in your area. You will probably need a lawyer to appeal your case to the federal court.
Once I'm on Disability Insurance Benefits or SSI, what can I do if Social Security tries to stop or reduce my benefits?
If you are getting SSI or Disability Insurance Benefits, Social Security may review your case at some time to see if your medical condition has improved and, as a result, if you are now able to work.
If SSA reviews your case, and if you are still disabled, try to get medical evidence from your doctor that shows that your condition has stayed the same or is now worse. It is also very important to get a lawyer to represent you if you can.
If Social Security decides to terminate your benefits, you can appeal the decision. You will have 60 days to make a written request for an appeal. But, it your benefits are stopped due to your medical improvement, and if you make a request within 10 days, your benefits will stay the same until you have a hearing and the Administrative Law Judge has made a decision on your case. If you receive an unfavorable notice, appeal immediately! If you lose the appeal you may be asked to pay back the benefits as an overpayment.
What should I do if I get a notice of overpayment?
You will get a notice of overpayment if the SSA thinks they paid you more money than you should have received. If this happens, you can:
1) File for reconsideration if you think the amount of the overpayment is wrong or there was no overpayment.
2) File for a waiver of repayment if you think the overpayment was not your fault and you cannot repay the money. A request for a waiver asks SSA to free you from having to pay back the overpayment.
If you do not want your checks reduced while you are contesting the overpayment, SSA should stop trying to collect the overpayment if you
a) ask for reconsideration or waiver within 30 days of the date of the overpayment notice, or
b) ask for waiver at a later time. (If your request is more than 30 days after the date of the overpayment notice, SSA probably will have started to try to collect the overpayment. But they should stop when you make your request.)