Reopening of SSI cases denied because of pandemic assistance

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is reopening cases that may have been denied because of receipt of pandemic-related financial assistance.  SSA initially determined that such payments counted as income but later decided that such payments are excludable disaster assistance.  (See EM-20014 REV 4, summarized here.)  EM-20014 REV 4 lists the pandemic-related financial assistance that SSA decided does not count as income for SSI.

SSA will send outreach notices to persons potentially affected.  Some people who had their claims denied will not receive an outreach notice.  They are people who have Denied claims with pending appeals, denied claims with pending subsequent applications, and denied claims with approved subsequent applications.  The outreach notice will tell people that SSA may have denied their SSI claim because they received pandemic-related financial assistance, that they may now be eligible for SSI and/or retroactive payments; and that they should contact SSA so we can reevaluate whether they are eligible for SSI and/or retroactive payments.  SSA started mailing the outreach notices on November 29, 2021 and expects to mail 144,000 notices.

There is no deadline to respond to the outreach notice.  If individuals do not respond to the outreach notice or it is returned as undeliverable, SSA will keep the case open and will review the case for any necessary action.  SSA will reevaluate the denial after speaking to the claimant.

Cases with Interim Assistance Reimbursement Agreements (IAR), that is agreements to reimburse General Assistance or other benefits paid while SSI applications are pending, will need new IAR authorizations.  States can reach out to claimants for new IAR authorizations.  (EM-21068, December 9, 2021.)

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