§ 416.520. Emergency advance payments.

(a) General. We may pay a one-time emergency advance payment to an individual initially applying for benefits who is presumptively eligible for SSI benefits and who has a financial emergency. The amount of this payment cannot exceed the Federal benefit rate (see §§ 416.410 through 416.414) plus the federally administered State supplementary payment, if any (see § 416.2020), which apply for the month for which the payment is made. Emergency advance payment is defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The actual payment amount is computed as explained in paragraph (c) of this section. An emergency advance payment is an advance of benefits expected to be due that is recoverable as explained in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.

(b) Definition of terms. For purposes of this subpart—

(1) Emergency advance payment means a direct, expedited payment by a Social Security Administration field office to an individual or spouse who is initially applying (see paragraph (b)(3) of this section), who is at least presumptively eligible (see paragraph (b)(4) of this section), and who has a financial emergency (see paragraph (b)(2) of this section).

(2) Financial emergency is the financial status of an individual who has insufficient income or resources to meet an immediate threat to health or safety, such as the lack of food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.

(3) Initially applying means the filing of an application (see § 416.310) which requires an initial determination of eligibility, such as the first application for SSI benefits or an application filed subsequent to a prior denial or termination of a prior period of eligibility for payment. An individual or spouse who previously received an emergency advance payment in a prior period of eligibility which terminated may again receive such a payment if he or she reapplies for SSI and meets the other conditions for an emergency advance payment under this section.

(4) Presumptively eligible is the status of an individual or spouse who presents strong evidence of the likelihood of meeting all of the requirements for eligibility including the income and resources tests of eligibility (see subparts K and L of this part), categorical eligibility (age, disability, or blindness), and technical eligibility (United States residency and citizenship or alien status—see subpart P of this part).

(c) Computation of payment amount. To compute the emergency advance payment amount, the maximum amount described in paragraph (a) of this section is compared to both the expected amount payable for the month for which the payment is made (see paragraph (c)(1) of this section) and the amount the applicant requested to meet the emergency. The actual payment amount is no more than the least of these three amounts.

(1) In computing the emergency advance payment amount, we apply the monthly income counting rules appropriate for the month for which the advance is paid, as explained in § 416.420. Generally, the month for which the advance is paid is the month in which it is paid. However, if the advance is paid in the month the application is filed, the month for which the advance is paid is considered to be the first month of expected eligibility for payment of benefits.

(2) For a couple, we separately compute each member's emergency advance payment amount.

(d) Recovery of emergency advance payment where eligibility is established. When an individual or spouse is determined to be eligible and retroactive payments are due, any emergency advance payment amounts are recovered in full from the first payment(s) certified to the United States Treasury. However, if no retroactive payments are due and benefits are only due in future months, any emergency advance payment amounts are recovered through proportionate reductions in those benefits over a period of not more than 6 months. (See paragraph (e) of this section if the individual or spouse is determined to be ineligible.)

(e) Disposition of emergency advance payments where eligibility is not established. If a presumptively eligible individual (or spouse) or couple is determined to be ineligible, the emergency advance payment constitutes a recoverable overpayment. (See the exception in § 416.537(b)(1) when payment is made on the basis of presumptive disability or presumptive blindness.)

[55 FR 4422, Feb. 8, 1990; 55 FR 7411, Mar. 1, 1990, as amended at 64 FR 31974, June 15, 1999]