How do I get the benefits that Social Security stopped paying, denied or collected as overpayments?

Produced by Committee for Public Counsel Services, Disability Law Center and Greater Boston Legal Services
Created July 2010

Three groups of people get benefits because of the Martinez Settlement in different ways.

The Martinez settlement will not help you if:

  • you have an outstanding warrant for violating probation or parole; or
  • you have an outstanding warrant for charges of escape, or fleeing to avoid prosecution.

Group 1

If you are in Group 1:

  • Your benefits were suspended on or after Jan. 1, 2007; or
  • Your benefits were suspended before Jan. 1, 2007 and you appealed of the suspension.

What benefits will I get?

  • You will get benefits from back to the date your benefits were stopped;
  • Social Security will pay you back for any benefits they reduced because they said they overpaid you.

How do I get benefits?

  • If you get SSI, make an appointment at your local Social Security office to show that you are financially eligible for benefits;
  • If you get Social Security benefits, you do not have to do anything. Your benefits will be automatically reinstated. Make sure they have your current address;
  • You do not have to file a new application;
  • You do not need to go through a disability review.

Group 2

If you are in Group 2:

  • You were denied benefits on or after Jan. 1, 2007; or
  • You were denied benefits before Jan. 1, 2007 and you appealed the decision on or after Jan. 1, 2007.

What benefits will I get?

You will get all of the benefits you should have received if your original application had been granted.

How do I get benefits?

  • If you applied for SSI, you must go to your local Social Security officeand make an appointment to show that you are financially eligible for benefits.
    • If you had a disability determination when you applied, you will not have to go through another disability review.
    • If you do not have a disability determination and you are under 65 years old, you will have go through a disability determination.
  • If you applied for Social Security, your benefits will automatically begin. You do not need to do anything except make sure that SSA has your correct address. You do not need to go through another disability review.

Group 3

If you are in Group 3:

  1. Your benefits were suspended or denied on or after Jan. 1, 2000 and before Jan. 1, 2007; and
  2. You did not have an appeal pending on or after Jan. 1, 2007.

What benefits will I get?

  • Benefits back to April 1, 2009;
  • Going forward, Social Security must pay you the full amount of benefits you are due. They cannot claim they have overpaid you because of a warrant. They must stop collecting overpayments from the benefits they are paying you now. But they will not refund the money they already collected from you for overpayments.

How do I get benefits?

  1. Social Security will send you a notice;
  2. You have 6 months from the date of the notice to go to your local Social Security office and apply for benefits again (reapply).
  3. If you file your application for benefits within 6 months of the date on the notice from Social Security and you are eligible, you will get back benefits from April 1, 2009. You can only get benefits back to April 1, 2009 if you reapply within 6 months of the date on your notice.

Note

Did you file an appeal, but never heard back from Social Security? Did you try to file an appeal but someone at Social Security told you not to because you had an outstanding warrant? You may be able to move into group 1 or group 2! Call the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center, 617-603-1700.

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