It is somewhat heartening to find that Social Security has recognized that there are times and situations where some people will find themselves utterly without a means to pay for necessary services. To that end the agency has gone some way to provide financial assistance to those in need by means of Emergency Advance Payments (EAP) and Immediate Payments (IP). As their titles suggest, the primary focus of each program is to get monies to beneficiaries without delay and without having to follow the regular SSI and SSDI payment schedules.

EAPs are payments that are made by an SSI claimant’s local Social Security office through a program known as the Third Party Payment System (TPPS) which allows them to make sure that the payment is done as quickly as possible. The EAP is not available to SSDI applicants or even to SSI recipients: it is solely for SSI applicants who have been determined eligible for SSI but haven’t yet begun to receive a check.  The applicant also has to have a financial emergency where he has basic and fundamental expenses but he has no way of paying them. Those expenses include food, shelter and medical costs. Even if Social Security can’t get verification that the person has no money or readily available resources they can give the applicant up to the full amount of SSI for one month. Once he’s received it he can’t get it again, and also he’ll have to pay it back once he’s regularly receiving his SSI check. The money might come out all at once from a retro-active payment or he can pay it back over a six month period. Social Security will get the money back eventually.

IPs work very similarly. As with the EAP a check is issued without the delay of going through the Treasury’s Regional Financial Center, which is where all regular SSI and SSDI checks are sent from; the beneficiary has to have a financial emergency that means he can’t pay for basic needs; and the money received is a loan that Social Security makes sure it gets back. However, IPs can be issued to any beneficiaries or applicants who are eligible for SSI, SSDI or both but who, for any of a number of reasons missed out on getting that month’s check. For example, if there was a processing error and an SSDI beneficiary didn’t get his check because Social Security incorrectly thought he had died (it happens, apparently) he could get the IP as long as he also had a financial emergency. The most anyone can receive as an IP is $999 whereas the EAP’s current individual limit is $750.

For more information on EAPs and IPs you can go to: