After you win your disability claim with Social Security for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the next step is the financial interview to determine how much monthly SSI benefits you are entitled to. This financial interview is called “Pre-Effectuation Review Conference” (PERC). Since SSI is based on your financial need and there are financial restrictions on your assets and household income to receive SSI, PERCs are conducted before SSI payments begin to make sure that you are still financially eligible for benefits and to update any other information about you.
About a month after you have been notified that you are approved for SSI benefits, you will get a notice in the mail regarding your financial interview. Typically, your monthly SSI benefits will not begin until after your PERC is completed.
In some cases, SSA will only perform a limited PERC. This means they will only review a few issues before starting your payments. This typically occurs for cases involving terminal illness, blindness, presumptive disability claims, compassionate allowance claims, or cases where the benefits were awarded under the GRID rules (for people 50 and older). However, most cases undergo a full PERC where SSA will document any and all changes that could affect financial SSI eligibility.
Even though SSI benefits cannot begin until you have completed your PERC review, there are always exceptions of course. These exceptions include: SSA finds that you do not have the capacity to manage your benefits but they are still trying to make a final determination about your competence; SSA determines that you do not have the capacity to manage your benefits but you do not have a representative payee assigned; or sixty days has elapsed since your claim was approved by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Keep in mind that not all disability recipients need to undergo PERC. PERC is only for SSI recipients; SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) recipients whose benefits is based off their work credits, not their financial need, do not undergo PERC. However, if you will receive both SSI and SSDI (also called a concurrent claim), then a PERC review will be necessary. If a claimant passes away prior to their PERC review, SSA will not perform a financial review if the deceased claimant is not owed any backpay (also known as retroactive disability benefits).
What is probably most important for you to take away from this reading is how you can prepare for your PERC interview. The purpose of PERC is for you to prove your financial status; the way to do that is to collect any of the following documents that you may have:
Very often the biggest factor of SSI benefits is your living arrangement. Prepare any documentation that shows how you are living and who pays for what. In some instances, if you are living with someone, you may want to bring that person with you to your financial interview so they can help support your statements about your living arrangement. For instance, if you are an adult who lives with your parents, it may be helpful for one of your parents to come to the interview with you. They can help explain that their assets and income should not be counted against your benefits. Instead, they can help explain that you will be contributing to the household expenses with your disability checks. If the person you live with cannot attend the PERC interview, you should bring a statement signed by that person that explains the living arrangements and whether or not you are required to contribute to living expenses.
Keep in mind that if you miss your financial interview for PERC, your disability benefits will most likely be delayed. SSA may close your claim all together if you do not respond to the PERC form that they send you. This form is called Request for Information/Evidence. They may also close your claim if you fail to respond to SSA’s calls to schedule your meeting, you fail to go in for your scheduled meeting, or you fail to return the signed PERC documents.