There is no maximum that you can receive in disability backpay from the Social Security Administration.
If you file for disability in North Carolina and get approved on your claim, the amount of disability backpay that you receive will depend on a number of different factors.
The first factor will be whether or not you were approved in the title II Social Security Disability program, or the title 16 SSI program.
For SSD, the amount of backpay that you receive can go back to your original date of application. It can also potentially go back 12 months prior to your date of application, meaning that you can receive up to one full year of retroactive disability benefits.
For SSI, your backpay can only go back as far as your original date of application.
The statements above describe how the two disability programs handle the issue of back payments. However, in actuality, what really affects how much you receive for your back payment?
It really comes down to two factors:
1. The first factor is how long it takes for your case to eventually be approved. The longer your case goes on, the more back pay you may potentially be eligible to eventually receive. This is why, if you are approved on your initial disability claim–in other words your application–you may or may not receive that much in backpay.
However, if your case, as most cases do, goes to a disability hearing, then it will have remained in the system for 2 to 3 times as long and, consequently, you may potentially receive a much higher amount for your back payment.
2. The second factor is your onset date. What is your onset date? This is simply the date on which your disability is considered to have begun. This date is determined by your medical evidence. In other words, it is when your evidence proves that your disability started.
Obviously, proving the earliest possible onset date for your disability is very important. And this is usually where a disability representative can be of great value to your case. Because a disability representative will analyze your medical evidence to determine how far back your claim can be proven, and will attempt to seek out additional evidence that can push the onset date back as far as possible.
It is not unusual for an individual who has filed for disability in North Carolina to receive as much as $30,000 or $40,000 for their back payment of benefits.
Keep in mind, however, that these very large back payments typically occur when a case has had to go through the first two levels of the system, meaning the application and the reconsideration appeal, and then has had to be presented to a judge at a Social Security hearing.
Of course at hearings, the process works much different differently then at the first two levels of the system. As opposed to the judge simply reviewing the evidence and issuing a decision, the claimant and/or their disability representative will actively present a case that is supported by medical and vocational evidence, as well as whatever grid framework rules and federal regulations apply to the case.