Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

The SSD, Social Security Disability Date of Application

People who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI should do so as soon as it becomes apparent that their medical condition is beginning to have a negative impact on their work performance.

Why? Because the date you file an application will affect the amount of back pay that you are entitled to receive. Back pay is calculated as the difference between the onset date (when Social Security thinks your condition first became disabling) plus a five-month waiting period, and the date upon which you are actually approved for benefits.

Most people who file for SSD and SSI are entitled to receive some sort of back pay, because it typically takes months, or even years, to be approved for benefits. Only about 30% of all disability applications are approved, which means that the other 70% must wind their way through the time-consuming appeals process.

Upon approval, Social Security looks back on your medical history and determines how long you have been entitled to benefits before you were actually approved for them, and awards back pay to make up for benefits to which you were entitled to but did not receive while awaiting a final decision in your case.

People who file for SSD benefits are covered under title II of the Social Security Act, and might also be entitled to collect up to 12 months of retroactive benefits. (Those who file for SSI are covered under title 16, and are not entitled to retroactive benefits.) Retroactive benefits are different than back pay in that they cover the time that a claimant’s medical records indicate he was disabled, but had not yet filed a claim.

In other words, back pay covers the period from the time you file until the time you are approved. Retroactive benefits, available only to those who qualify for SSD, cover a period of up to a year before the claim was filed (assuming the application is approved).

The important thing for all applicants to remember is that Social Security cannot begin to consider a case until a disability application is filed. After you file, you begin to accrue back pay, an amount that depends on how long it takes for you to be approved for benefits.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
Filing an Application for Disability Benefits under SSD or SSI - Step by Step
Tips on how to file for disability
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
What happens after I file my disability claim with Social Security?
What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
If you get denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made
Social Security Disability Waiver of Overpayment

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