Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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If I Am Determined Disabled, How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?
How far back Social Security will pay disability benefits to a disabled person is determined by the date you filed your disability claim when applying for Social Security and/or SSI disability.
Back Pay and Social Security Disability applicants
Social Security disability applicants may be eligible for disability benefits for twelve months prior to the date of filing for disability--these are known as retroactive benefits--provided they have been unable to work at a substantial level for at least seventeen months prior to filing.
Why seventeen months? Social Security has a five-month waiting period that applies to social security disability claims for which they never pay disability benefits. Basically, the date of filing determines what month you are first entitled to begin receiving monthly Social Security disability benefits.
Back Pay and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, applicants
SSI disability applicants are first entitled to monthly disability benefits for the month in which they filed for disability--provided, of course, that they meet the income and resource requirements of the SSI program and provided also that their medical evidence supports a "disability onset date" (the onset date is when the claimant became disabled) at least as far back as their date of their disability application, or date of filing for SSI disability.
Note: For SSI disability, there is no five-month waiting period which effectively confiscates a social security disability applicant's first five months of benefits; by the same token, though, there are no disability benefits payable for any time prior to the filing date of their disability application, i.e. there are no retroactive benefits in the SSI program.
Special Note: Please keep in mind that "retroactive benefits" and "back pay" are not the same thing. Retroactive benefits are those that may be payable for the time before a person has even filed for disability. Retroactive benefits, as previously mentioned, only pertain to the social security disability program.
Back pay is completely different. Back pay pertains to both the SSI and social security disability programs. Back pay, or past due benefits, are simply those benefits that are due to the claimant as a result of A) What date their disability is considered to have begun (as established by the medical records) and B) How long it has taken to process their disability claim.
A good example of "B" is a person who has had to take their case before a federal administrative law judge and, thus, has had their claim in the system for three years or more; such a person would likely be owed a significant amount of back pay due to how long their case has been pending from the time after filing a claim.
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