Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Disability Advice Tips
How long do cases take?
How to win Disability
SSD Mistakes to avoid
Disability for Mental
What if you get denied?
How to file Appeals
Disability through SSA
SSI Disability Benefits
Disability for Children
How do I qualify for it?
Working and Disability
Disability Award Notice
Disability Lawyer Q&A
Disability Conditions List
What is a disability?
Your Medical Evidence
Filing for your Disability
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by
SSDRC Disability Blog
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 benefits go are determined by when a person files for benefits.
SSI past due benefits, or 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, SSA 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 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.
SSI back pay can become a substantial amount simply because of the nature of the disability process. 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 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.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
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 25% 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?
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 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