How Does Social Security Disability Back Pay Work?

A sad fact of filing for disability benefits is that it can take a significant length of time to get approved for benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) understands the disability application process takes time. That is why they compensate approved applicants with back pay.

What is Disability Back Pay?

Back pay refers to the amount of money you should have received during the period of time you are disabled. Once you get approved for benefits, you are eligible to receive the accrued back pay. Also, if you receive SSDI you could receive back pay if the SSA determines you were eligible for benefits before the date you filed. The SSA’s retroactive benefits cap out at 12 months before the date you filed for benefits.

It may take several months for the SSA to process and send you your back pay. If you filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you will receive the back pay in a single lump sum payment. If you filed for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will probably receive the back pay in three separate payments six months apart.

How the SSA Determines Your Backpay

The SSA will calculate your disability back pay by looking at three factors.

Your Application Date

This date is self-explanatory. It is the date you filed your disability application.

Your Disability Onset Date

Your disability onset date is the date you became disabled according to the SSA’s definition of “disability”. When you file your disability claim, you put down an alleged disability onset date. But, during the application process, the SSA will look at your medical records and determine your established onset date (EOD).

Your Five-Month Waiting Period

According to SSA rules, you must wait five months from your EOD before you could be eligible for benefits. For example, you became disabled on January 1, but you would not become eligible for benefits until June 1. They would consider June 1 your entitlement date.

If your entitlement date occurs before your application date, then you will receive back pay from the date of your application to the date of your benefit approval. You may also receive retroactive pay from the entitlement date until the date of your application but only 12 months before your application date.

If your entitlement date occurs after your application date, then you will receive back pay from your entitlement date to the date of your benefit approval.

How a Disability Attorney Can Help You Get Your Backpay

An experienced disability attorney can help you provide the SSA with the right information to help establish a favorable disability onset date. The earlier your onset date the more Back pay and retroactive pay you could receive.

Contact Brock & Stout’s disability attorneys today for a free evaluation. Let us see if we can help you get the benefits you need.