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
Ask a question, get an answer
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it
What is Social Security back pay and will you get disability back pay? Social Security back pay is based upon the date you became unable to work due to a medical or mental condition.
Many disability applicants are eligible for a back payment of disability benefits once they are approved. Note I said “many”. Not all disability applicants are eligible for disability back pay benefits.
For example, an individual who performed SGA level work activity --
meaning they engaged in work activity and earned at least as much as the SGA cutoff in effect for a given year (See How much can you earn and still receive disability?) --
up until the date they filed for disability benefits may not have any back pay because their entitlement date for disability benefits is a future date, meaning that no back pay benefits would have accrued.
What Back Pay depends on
Back pay depends upon the type of disability benefits an applicant is entitled to receive, the date they became disabled i.e. the onset date of disability, the date they filed their application, and how long it takes Social Security to approve them for disability.
If a disability claim has to go to an administrative law judge hearing, the claimant's back pay will be substantially larger than the back pay of an individual who is approved for disability benefits at the initial claim or reconsideration appeal level.
SSI and Back Pay
If you qualify for SSI disability, a need-based disability benefit program, you will be entitled to receive benefits as far back as your date of disability application, provided you meet the non-medical requirements regarding the income and resource limitations of the program, in addition to the medical qualifications. of course, if your case goes on for very long (this is usually true), then your back pay benefits may be substantial.
SSD and Back pay
If you qualify for social security disability, you will be entitled to benefits as far back as your date of application and potentially even 12 months retroactive to this. Therefore, you may also be entitled to substantial back pay benefits depending on how your claim takes.
Unfortunately, however, for social security disability applicants, there is a a five month waiting period, which simply means that after you have been approved, the social security administration will eliminate your first five months of benefits. This usually will not affect how long it actually takes to begin receiving your benefits because most claimants are entiteld to years of back pay benefits. But keep in mind that the social security administration will essentially hold back what would have been your first five months of payments.
The five month waiting period that generally begins with the month following the EOD (established date of onset, which is Social Security's determination of when you became disabled according to the medical and vocational evidence), unless the EOD is the first or second day of the month.
If a disability beneficiary’s date of onset is the first or second day of the month, the month can be included as the first month of the five-month disability waiting period. This waiting period effective reduces the amount of any back payment of Social Security disability benefits. Social Security never pays for disability monetary benefits for the five months of the waiting period.
How long will it take your receive your Social Security disability back pay?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. It may take some time to receive your Social Security back pay, especially if you were awarded your disability benefits at a disability hearing by a federal judge.
Moreover, you may not receive your disability back pay in one lump sum, if you are approved for SSI disability as opposed to social security disability. Supplemental Security Income recipients can only receive their back pay in increments, so as not to interfere with the income and resource limits of the program.
Furthermore, Social Security disability recipients may have to wait longer to receive their back pay if there are any SSI benefits involved (which may be the case if an individual has a concurrent claim, i.e. a claim for both social security disability and SSI).
Lastly, Social Security pays SSDI and SSI back pay differently. Social Security disability beneficiaries receive their back pay disability benefit in one lump sum, while SSI disability beneficiaries receive their back payment in installments that basically allow for an initial payment, one six months later and a final installment at the one year mark.
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