Back Pay Can Ease the Financial Burden of a Disability

If you’ve just been approved for Social Security or SSI benefits, you may also be eligible for Social Security back pay (also called retroactive benefits). Your eligibility for Social Security disability back pay will depend on three key factors.

Am I Eligible for Back Pay?

Social Security Disability LawyerThe first factor will depend on when you applied for disability benefits. In many cases, it’s common for the Social Security disability application process to take a year or more. Because of this, for both SSDI and SSI claims, back pay can extend back to when the application was originally filed.

While it doesn’t apply to SSI, SSDI back pay can also include a retroactive period up to one year prior to filing your application. This ties into the second factor that determines the back pay amount, which is the established onset date of the disability. For SSDI claims, benefits will be paid retroactively back to either a person’s onset date or one year prior to the filing of the application for benefits, whichever is more recent. For example, if the onset of a person’s disability is August 5, 2011 but he doesn’t file his application until April 23, 2013, once his claim is approved he will only be paid retroactively back to April of 2012 (one year prior to filing the application) – not back to August 2011. In this example, the disabled person will not be retroactively compensated for 8 months of time that he was disabled (August 2011 – March 2012). Thus, it is best not to delay filing an application for SSDI benefits.

In the case of SSI back pay, even if the disability did occur before filing of the application, benefits will begin the first full month after the application is filed. Benefits aren’t awarded for any time prior to when the application was filed. Using the above example, the disabled person would be only be retroactively paid back to April 2013.

For SSDI benefits, there is also a five-month waiting period before benefits can begin. This tends to be frustrating for many people because it wipes out five months of possible retroactive benefits. For example, if a person’s onset of disability is August 5, 2012, his benefits would begin February 2013.

Social Security Back Pay: How Long Does It Take to Determine?

Once a claim is approved, you should receive a back pay deposit within sixty days. Although another two months may seem like an eternity, it’s not uncommon for applicants to receive a payment much earlier than that. Not only will the amount you receive depend on what you’re owed, but it will also be influenced by what you were approved for.

If your claim was just for SSDI, you will receive a single sum payment. But if you were approved for SSI or both types of benefits and meet certain guidelines, your back pay will be split up in to three payments over the course of eighteen months.

How Can a Disability Attorney Help With SSI and SSDI Back Pay?

Since getting your claim approved is the first step in this process, one of the main ways an attorney can help you get the maximum amount of back pay for your situation is to ensure that your case is filed promptly and presented in the right way. And even if your claim is denied or has been already, an attorney may still be able to help. Contact attorney Lisa M. Ritacco to have a free discussion about your disability claim and your eligibility for back pay!