Does SSA go by onset date or application date for back pay?

Does SSA go by onset date or application date for back pay?

Both onset date and application date are potentially important to back pay. If you are approved for SSI disability, the application date is the only determiner for back pay disability benefits. Since there are no potential retroactive disability benefits for SSI beneficiaries (meaning that SSI beneficiaries can get back pay, but they cannot get retroactive backpay from a period occurring before they applied, as is the case with SSDI disability), the only determiner is date of filing.

If you are entitled to, and eligible for SSDI, or both SSDI and SSI, the onset of your disability is considered along with your application date/filing date. If you are found to be disabled seventeen months prior to your application date, you may be eligible for 12 months of retroactive disability benefits. The twelve months of potential retroactive back pay benefits begin with your application date.

If you worked and performed SGA until your application date, your back payment will begin accumulating after the five month waiting period. For example, if you stopped work 01/02/2025, you would be entitled to receive disability benefits 07/2025. Should you be approved with your initial disability claim you will not receive any back pay unless your are approved after 07/2025.

If your disability claim is denied, your back pay of disability benefits begins with 07/2025 and accumulates while your disability claim is working its way through the Social Security Disability appeal process.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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