Topic Categories:

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

Disability Denials and Filing 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 Back Pay and the disability award notice

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

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How does back pay for Social Security disability work?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

Social Security disability back pay is based on your date of onset and date of entitlement. What is a date of onset? Simply, the date you became unable to work due to your condition or conditions.

Additionally, Social Security has established a five-month waiting period, for which you are never paid. For example, if it was decided by the social security administation that you became disabled on 2/15/18 (let us further assume that this was the date you stopped working), then your date of entitlement (the date you are entitled to a disability benefit) would be 8/18, or August 2018.

Having said all this, however, another way of answering the question of how back pay work is to say that:

1. For social security disability claims, a claimant may potentially be eligible to receive benefits as far back as the date of their application for social security disability. This, of course, is based on whether or not the claimant's medical evidence actually justifies an onset date this far back. And the amount of back pay that a claimant may be eligible to receive will be lessened by the five month waiting period. Special note: for social security disability claims, claimants may also be potentially eligible to receive benefits for 12 retroactive months preceding their month of application.

2. For SSI disability claims, there are no retroactive months and there is no five month waiting period. Therefore, a claimant who has been approved for SSI disability benefits may potentially be eligible to receive benefits back to the date of their application for disability. Whether or not a person will actually receive backpayment benefits this far back will be based on whether or not their medical evidence supports an early enough date of onset (known as an "established date of onset").

As you can see, back pay can be a complex and confusing issue. And this can be doubly true in instances where an individual has been approved for both SSD and SSI. However, here are several key things to remember about social security disability, SSI, and the issue of back pay.

1. The amount of back pay that you receive will depend on when you file your disability application. For this reason, if you are procrastinating about filing for disability, stop procrastinating and get your claim filed.

2. How far back your disability began (based on the evidence) will have an effect on how much back pay you can receive. For this reason, supply full and complete information about your medical records, including older medical records as well as current medical records.

3. Your onset date (when you became disabled) can be argued by your social security attorney, and this is usually done most effectively at a hearing before an administative law judge.

Additional Information:

What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?

How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?

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

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews