Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Why do you receive a Social Security Disability benefit back payment?

Good afternoon, When a person is awarded disability and paid a lump sum from the time they filed until it was awarded--is this considered a pain and suffering award, or back pay for loss of wages?

It would be very much appreciated if I could get an answer today, please.

A back payment of disability benefits is generally paid as one lump sum. This is strictly monthly benefits payable back to the date a person is entitled to receive a monthly disability benefit. When a person is "entitled" will depend on several things and can be a little confusing to understand so we will be very brief in discussing this.

First, when did they apply for disability? On the disability application, a person will allege a date that their condition, or various conditions, made them disabled and unable to engage in substantial and gainful work activity. This is known as their AOD, or alleged onset of disability.

Secondly, when did their disability begin, as proven by their medical evidence? The date for this is known as their EOD, or established onset of disability. Thirdly, when they are entitled? This is where Social Security applies what is known as the five month waiting period to all claims involving Social Security Disability (but not SSI which does not have a waiting period).

A back payment for SSD does not involve compensation for pain or lost wages*. It is simply money that is owed to a person who A) has filed for disability, B) been approved, and C) is owed X number of months of disability benefits because of D) how long their claim has taken, and E) how far back their entitlement date has been established.

Without a doubt, this makes it very plain and obvious just why it is that a person filing for disability should try to prove a disability claim as far back as possible. That, of course, means supplying Social Security with as much information as possible about one's conditions and history of treatment.

Note: If the date of entitlement is not in the past but in the future, there would be no back payment or lump sum payment.

*Eligibility for disability benefits under either SSD or SSI is based on whether a person is, as a result of their condition, unable to engage in work activity at a level that earns them a substantial and gainful income.

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    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