Ask Larry

Is Social Security Allowed To Withhold My Back Pay?

I recently was approved for ssdi benefits but was receiving ssi payments. They say they are witholding my benefits from feb. 2022 until apr. 2023, can they do that?

Hi. Yes, at least potentially. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are needs based, and they are offset dollar for dollar by the amount of any Social Security benefits that you are paid. As a result, if you are awarded Social Security disability (SSDI) back pay for a period of time during which you already collected SSI payments, Social Security withholds from your SSDI back pay any amount of SSI benefits that wouldn't have been due if you had been paid the SSDI benefits timely. Social Security then reimburses the SSI program with the amount they withhold from the SSDI back pay.

However, I don't have sufficient information to be able to tell you whether or not the SSI offset amount was correctly calculated in your case, so if you believe that the amount is incorrect you could file an appeal (

Best, Jerry

May 18 2023 - 8:49pm
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