After you receive a favorable decision on your application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will contact you to schedule what we call a resource meeting. In Social Security jargon, they call this a “pre-effectuation review contact” or “PERC”. This is the time when SSA interviews you to make sure that you meet the financial qualifications for SSI. Calling this a resource meeting is a bit of a short-cut, as the government will be asking you questions about your resources, income and housing situation.
This meeting might occur over the telephone or in-person, but it is critical that you participate in this meeting in order to get your benefits started. In this meeting, the Social Security employee will ask you questions about your financial status from the month you applied for benefits to the present.
Be prepared to answer the following questions for each month from your application date to the date of your resource meeting:
- Resources: How much did you have in your bank account?
- Resources: Did you have any resources that could easily be converted into cash other than your primary home and one automobile?
- Housing situation: Where were you living and if you were paying rent, how much did you pay?
- Income: Did you have any earned or unearned income?
For people on SSI, to be eligible for benefits, they can have no more than $2,000 in resources for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. However, not all resources count. The government has a list of resources that do not count against this limit. The most important exclusions are a primary residence and one automobile, if it used for transportation. Be prepared for the meeting by obtaining your bank statements for the period from your application date to the date of the resource meeting.
You will be asked about your housing situation because the government can reduce your monthly benefit by 1/3 for months when you are living for free in someone else’s home. The government can also dramatically reduce or eliminate your benefit if you were incarcerated or staying in a Medicaid-paid facility. Be prepared with a month-by-month list of where you were living and what rent, if any, you paid during that month.
SSI can be reduced if you received any unearned or earned income in the months beginning with your application for SSI. If you are partnered, or under 18, the government will also need to know about the wages or unearned income of your spouse or parent(s). To prepare for your resource meeting, obtain pay-stubs or other records that can document wages earned and any other income that comes into your household.
After your resource meeting, you may be asked to provide specific pieces of documentation. We encourage you to provide the requested evidence as quickly as possible so you don’t slow down the processing of your benefits.
Moving forward, it is your responsibility to update Social Security if the income or assets of you or your family members change. You can report changes online at www.socialsecurity.gov, or by calling toll free at 1-800-772-1213. If you have to frequently report changes in wages, consider asking Social Security about how to use the automated toll-free SSI Telephone Wage Reporting Service or the free SSI Mobile Wage Reporting Smartphone app available on iTunes and Google Play.