How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay
Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
Many disability beneficiaries confuse retroactive benefits with back payment of benefits in general. This is understandable. Before going further, we should just say that back pay is whatever amount of past due benefits that Social Security may owe you after your case is won. Back pay can go all the way back to the time you filed your claim. Retroactive benefits, when they are paid, are simply a part of back pay.
However, retroactive benefits are payments you receive for months that occurred BEFORE you decided to file for disability, presuming you were disabled during that time.
Now for an explanation of retroactive benefits that, unfortunately, may be confusing the first time it is read.
As with all disability benefits, retroactive benefits are based upon the date of filing and the established date of onset of disability. When a disability applicant files a disability claim, the filing date of their application determines possible retroactive benefit months, just as it determines how much total backpay a person may receive.
For example, if an applicant has not been able to perform SGA (i.e. work at the SGA earnings level) for seventeen months or more due to their disabling impairment prior to the date they filed their disability application, they may potentially receive twelve months of retroactive benefits...provided that they were disabled for that time period prior to their date of application.
Why only twelve months?
Social Security Disability has a five-month waiting period for which they never pay month benefits that begins the month following the month of onset (unless the applicant became disabled on the first of the month) and ends five months later.
For this reason, disability applicants must have been unable to perform SGA-level work for seventeen months rather than twelve months prior to the date they filed their disability claim to get twelve months of retroactive benefits. Retroactive benefit months can go backward from the time of filing a claim, to a maximum of twelve months.
Of course, Social Security must have medical evidence to establish that the applicant was disabled at least seventeen months previous to their disability filing date. Additionally, retroactive benefits can only be paid to disability applicants who are eligible for Social Security Disability.
The need based SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability program does not pay retroactive disability benefits -- benefits can only begin the month the disability claim was filed provided the applicant met the income and resource limits at that time.
So, what about back payment of disability benefits? Both SSI and Social Security Disability applicants may be able to receive back pay. As with retroactive benefits, back payment disability benefits are dependent upon an individual’s date of filing and established onset of disability.
Back payment of benefits begins with the month an individual becomes eligible for disability benefits (SSI disability beneficiaries can receive disability benefits for all months including the month of filing but no earlier than the date of filing).
If an individual is not approved for disability benefits on their initial disability claim, they must begin an appeal process that can take many months or even years. If they are eventually approved for disability benefits, Social Security may have to pay them back payment benefits for all months beginning with the month the applicant became eligible for their month disability benefits.
What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?
Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved
What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Receiving a Disability Award Letter
Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
Applying for disability in your state
Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability SSI Questions
The listings, list of disabling impairments
Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?
Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials
How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?
How to apply for disability for a child or children
Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application
Filing for disability - when to file
How to apply for disability - where to apply
Qualifications for disability benefits
How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits
Qualifying for Disability - The Process
How to get disability for depression
Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
Social Security Disability SSI definitions
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
Who can help me file for disability?
Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
Can I get Retroactive SSI Disability Benefits?
What is the regulation for SSDI Retroactive Benefits?
How far back do you get disability benefits in North Carolina?
Are there retroactive Social Security Benefits payable when reduced early retirement is taken at 62?
Do you have to report Social Security Disability income?
Social Security Disability For Back Condition pain in California
How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?
Disability requirements and criteria in California
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
Permanent Social Security Disability
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
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?
For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.
The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.
To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.