Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?

Supplemental Security Insurance disability, or SSI as it is more commonly known, is a disability program that is administered by the Social Security Administration. How far back a person's SSI benefits go are determined by when a person files for benefits.

SSI back pay, begins to accrue from the date a disability claim under SSI is filed. So, typically an individual will start a disability application and the claim, because of denials and various appeals that have to be filed, will take quite a while. If it takes, for example, two years, then Social Security will owe the claimant two years of disability back pay benefits.

This is a little different from SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). If a person is approved for SSDI, Social Security will determine how much back pay a person is owed but eliminate the first five months of benefits owed. This is called the five month waiting period. SSI, however, has no waiting period.

Above, we said that the date of filing is the date that SSI back pay benefits start from. But it is more accurate to put it this way: Social Security considers the date a person first contacted Social Security for a disability interview to be their protected date of filing. This is important because it generally takes a few days or even a few weeks to get an appointment to file for disability benefits, assuming that you are not filing online.

How much SSI back pay can you get

SSI back pay can become a substantial amount simply because of the nature of the disability process, which usually involves being denied once or twice before potentially winning disability at a hearing, after which back pay can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars. The key, of course, is that back pay grows because the system is slow and takes a lot of time.

Once a person completes their disability application, their claim is sent to a state agency (DDS, or disability determination services) that is responsible for making disability decisions for Social Security. Most initial disability decisions take an average of 100 days for a decision to be made unless the person has:

A) A terminal illness.

B) A condition that is considered a fast track for an approval (QDD or quick disability decision).

C) They have conditions that are on the compassionate allowance list.

Unfortunately, only about three percent of all disability cases are any of the above listed exceptions to the average disability case processing time.

If a personís initial disability claim is denied, they must file an appeal for their claim for SSI benefits. Social Security allows sixty-five total days from the date of the denial notice to receive an appeal. Once the appeal is completed, it is forwarded back to the state disability agency for a reconsideration of the initial denial.

How long do appeals take?

Reconsideration appeals generally take an average of sixty days to receive a decision. If the reconsideration appeal is denied, the claimant can file a request for an administrative law judge hearing.

The wait time for an administrative law judge ALJ hearing is the longest of the disability claim processing levels. It can take months or even years for a person to be scheduled for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Social Security is working to shorten the wait time, but with record numbers of individuals appealing their disability claims to administrative law judges, it can still be a very long wait for a hearing.

If a person has to appeal their disability claim all the way to an administrative law judge hearing, they are realistically looking at an average of 18, and possibly 36, months or more before they are approved for SSI disability benefits (provided they win their disability hearing).

However, even if it takes this amount of time to be approved for SSI disability benefits, Social Security will back pay a person to the date they first contacted Social Security for their disability claim.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

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

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?
    What is Social Security Disability Back Pay?
    When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay check?
    If I Am Determined Disabled, How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?
    Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?
    Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
    Do you always get disability back payments from social security?
    Social Security Disability Lawyers and 21% Back Pay
    How much can you receive in disability backpay in North Carolina?
    Why do you receive a Social Security Disability benefit back payment?
    Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings
    What to do if you get a letter about your disability claim or appeal?
    How many disability applications are approved?
    How to file a disability appeal in New Jersey
    If you apply for disability in in New Jersey

    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