Can I receive back pay all the way back to my first SSD or SSI disability claim years ago?

Can you receive SSD or SSI disability back pay for earlier disability claims?

The simple answer to this question is no. Both SSI and SSDI claims are controlled by their filing date. The filing date is only good for the life of that claim, so no earlier disability filings will count toward a back payment of disability benefits.

The SSI program allows disability benefits beginning with the month following the month you filed your SSI disability claim. Having said that, if your SSI disability claim is denied, your filing date will be used through the entire disability appeal process. If you do not appeal your initial SSI denial, your potential back payment would begin with the filing date of your new claim.

The Social Security Disability program also uses your filing date to determine when your back pay might begin. SSD allows a twelve-month retroactive period for benefits (if you have been out of work 17 months or more) in addition to back payment for months going forward from the filing date.

If you recently stopped working, there would be no retroactive benefits and your back payment would begin after the five-month waiting period. The same rule applies to SSD in that if you do not file an appeal your filing date will not be protected, thus your back pay of benefits would be controlled by the filing date of your new disability claim.

In summary, most SSI and SSD disability claim back payments are determined by their protective filing date. The filing date is only good for the life of the disability claim. Meaning, once you fail to appeal your disability denials or your appeal process is exhausted, the claim is over thus ending potential back payment months.

The only time this situation may not hold true would be in a situation where a prior disability claim is reopened for some reason. If this happens, the protective filing date of the prior claim could be used rather than the current filing date, thus giving you more months of back payment.

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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