What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
The SSD, Social Security Disability Date of Application
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
People who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI should do so as soon as it becomes apparent that their medical condition is beginning to have a negative impact on their work performance.
Why? Because the date you file an application will affect the amount of back pay that you are entitled to receive. Back pay is calculated as the difference between the onset date (when Social Security thinks your condition first became disabling) plus a five-month waiting period, and the date upon which you are actually approved for benefits.
Most people who file for SSD and SSI are entitled to receive some sort of back pay, because it typically takes months, or even years, to be approved for benefits. Only about 30% of all disability applications are approved, which means that the other 70% must wind their way through the time-consuming appeals process.
Upon approval, Social Security looks back on your medical history and determines how long you have been entitled to benefits before you were actually approved for them, and awards back pay to make up for benefits to which you were entitled by did not receive while awaiting a final decision in your case.
People who file for SSD benefits are covered under title II of the Social Security Act, and might also be entitled to collect up to 12 months of retroactive benefits. (Those who file for SSI are covered under title 16, and are not entitled to retroactive benefits.) Retroactive benefits are different than back pay in that they cover the time that a claimant’s medical records indicate he was disabled, but had not yet filed a claim. In other words, back pay covers the period from the time you file until the time you are approved. Retroactive benefits, available only to those who qualify for SSD, cover a period of up to a year before the claim was filed (assuming the application is approved).
The important thing for all applicants to remember is that Social Security cannot begin to consider a case until a disability applicationis filed. After you file you begin to accrue back pay, an amount that depends on how long it takes for you to be approved for benefits.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials