Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

In a crisis: How the SSA’s advance payments can help

If you’re a new applicant for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, you may face unique challenges compared to others. You might be looking at options such as loans to help get by, but with limited resources, you may find it difficult to apply for one. 

Fortunately, there’s one resource you could tap into: the Emergency Advance Payment (EAP). These payments could very well be the lifeline you need to make ends meet. 

Are you eligible for EAP?

The EAP is a special program designed to assist those in immediate need. Through that program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can give you a one-time payment if you really need money right away. However, there’s a limit to how much they can give. This program is not a regular offering and it is only available after the SSA has determined your genuine need for it. To qualify for an EAP, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Initial application: You are due to receive SSI benefits that the SSA has not yet paid. This typically applies if you’re a new applicant who has been approved for SSI or is due a payment but was delayed.
  • Financial emergency: You lack sufficient income or resources to meet an immediate threat to health or safety, such as the lack of food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is key to your survival.
  • No other option: You must be unable to obtain the needed amount through other sources.

Aside from these conditions, you would need to be eligible to receive SSI benefits in the first place. 

What amount can you receive?

The SSA determines the amount of financial assistance you can receive through the EAP, and this depends on several factors. While they do acknowledge that you’re in need, it doesn’t automatically mean you will receive the maximum amount possible. The assistance has a limit and is calculated based on the following: 

  • The maximum amount the government says you can get from SSI (plus any extra money your state might give you).
  • The total amount of SSI benefits you’re supposed to get.
  • The amount of money you say you need to get out of your emergency.

You’ll get the smallest of these three amounts as your EAP. After that, they’ll take the EAP out of your SSI benefits over the next six months or sooner if you stop getting SSI benefits before then. 

You must remember that while an EAP can provide immediate relief in a crisis, it’s essentially a loan against your future SSI benefits. This means it will be subtracted from your future payments until it’s fully repaid. Despite this, if you’re in a difficult situation, accessing the EAP could be a crucial step to help you and your family get by. Survival can be tough, and every help you can get could make a significant difference.