Social Security Disability Resource Center

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 filed 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 begin with the date of filing and go backward with 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 individualís 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.








  • Index of Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

  • 56 Answers to Social Security Disability SSI Questions







  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center



    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?

    Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices




    Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability

    Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win




    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney




    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security




    Information to start with regarding Disability Claims

    An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI

    What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

    The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits




    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

    Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits




    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI



    The SSDRC Disability Blog




    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina








    Related pages:

    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?



    Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing an application for disability
    Filing for disability and medical conditions that qualify
    How long to get disability benefits when you apply
    Social Security Disability application denied
    Winning disability benefits, how to win
    Winning disability for a mental condition
    Social Security Disability Back pay, SSD, SSI
    Eligible for Social Security Disability SSI