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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.








Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions








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