What Happens After You Get Your Award Letter from Social Security?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

After you receive an award letter for disability benefits, your online account will tell you the decision as well. Usually, the letter will tell you the condition(s) you were approved for, as well as the frequency with which you can expect medical reviews of your disability to take place. The letter should also inform you of your established onset date. This is the date that the Social Security Administration (SSA) determined you became disabled. This date might or might not be the same as you thought you became disabled.  

If the onset date selected is the same onset date you requested, this is called “fully favorable.” If it is a different date, this is called “partially favorable.” You can use the letter to prove that you are eligible for disability benefits. An SSA Award Letter typically arrives somewhere between 1-3 months following the SSA’s decision on your application and contains information such as the date you’ll start to collect disability payments, your specific amount of Social Security Disability benefits, and when you can expect payments. 

What Information is in the Awards Letter?  

The awards letter will outline the next steps you need to take on how to claim your disability benefits. 

How Do I Get My Awards Letter?  

Your personal my Social Security account is the fastest, most efficient way to get your awards letter.  

Work Incentives While Receiving Disability Benefits  

Once you have been awarded disability benefits but you want to work, the SSA has a work incentive program and Ticket to Work programs. There are special rules that facilitate people getting Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to be able to work and still be able to receive their monthly payments. And, if your medical condition makes it so that you can’t continue working, your benefits can be restarted and you may not be required to file a new application. Work incentives include the following:

  • cash benefits that continue, for a time, while you work;
  • Medicare or Medicaid benefits that continue while you work;
  • help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new type of work. 

The Ticket to Work program (Ticket) may also help you if you would like to work. You may be able to get the following:

  • training;
  • other employment support;
  • job referrals; 
  • free vocational rehabilitation. 

You won’t need to undergo medical reviews while you’re using the free “ticket” and are making obvious progress when following you plan for a return to work. 

Ticket to Work Program 

The SSA’s Ticket to Work Program supports Social Security disability beneficiaries aged 18 through to 64 who wish to work’s career development. The Ticket to Work Program is free and voluntary. The Ticket to Work Program provides assistance to people with disabilities so that they are able to work towards having financial independence. It is likely that individuals—ages 18 through 64—who receive Social Security benefits as a result of having a disability already qualify for the program. 

Can I Appeal The Awards Letter? 

If you disagree with the awards letter, such as the amount of disability you’re approved for, you can try to file an appeal. You should find that your Notice of Award lists your rights to file an appeal. This is so that you can take up anything you disagree with and fight for changes to be made. An appeal at this stage has a time limit like any other disability appeal, so you should not delay in seeking the help you need. 

Additional Resources 

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