SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
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
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.
What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page