Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
Many disability beneficiaries confuse retroactive benefits with back payment of benefits in general. As with all disability benefits, retroactive benefits are based upon the date of filing and the established date of onset of disability.
When a disability applicant files a disability claim, the filing date of their application determines possible retroactive benefit months. For example, if an applicant has not been able to perform SGA for seventeen months or more due to their disabling impairment prior to the date they filed their disability application, they may receive twelve months of retroactive benefits.
Why only twelve months? Social Security disability has a five- month waiting period for which they never pay month benefits that begins the month following the month of onset (unless the applicant became disabled on the first of the month) and ends five months later.
For this reason, disability applicants must have been unable to perform SGA for seventeen months rather than twelve months prior to the date they filed their disability claim to get twelve months of retroactive benefits. Retroactive benefit months begin with the date of filing and go backward with a maximum of twelve months.
Of course, Social Security must have medical evidence to establish that the applicant was disabled at least seventeen months previous to their disability filing date. Additionally, retroactive benefits can only be paid to disability applicants who are eligible for Social Security disability.
The need based SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability program does not pay retroactive disability benefits -- benefits can only begin the month the disability claim was filed provided the applicant met the income and resource limits at that time.
So, what about back payment of disability benefits? Both SSI and Social Security disability applicants may be able to receive back pay. As with retroactive benefits, back payment disability benefits are dependent upon an individualís date of filing and established onset of disability.
Back payment of benefits begins with the month an individual becomes eligible for disability benefits (SSI disability beneficiaries can receive disability benefits for all months including the month of filing but no earlier than the date of filing).
If an individual is not approved for disability benefits on their initial disability claim, they must begin an appeal process that can take many months or even years. If they are eventually approved for disability benefits, Social Security may have to pay them back payment benefits for all months beginning with the month the applicant became eligible for their month disability benefits.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria