Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

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

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How does back pay for Social Security disability work?

Social Security disability back pay is based on your date of onset and date of entitlement. What is a date of onset? Simply, the date you became unable to work due to your condition or conditions.

Additionally, Social Security has established a five-month waiting period, for which you are never paid. For example, if it was decided by the social security administation that you became disabled on 2/15/21 (let us further assume that this was the date you stopped working), then your date of entitlement (the date you are entitled to a disability benefit) would be 8/21, or August 2021.

Having said all this, however, another way of answering the question of how back pay works is to say that:

1. For social security disability claims, a claimant may potentially be eligible to receive disability benefits as far back as the date of their application for social security disability. This, of course, is based on whether or not the claimant's medical evidence actually justifies an onset date this far back. And the amount of back pay that a claimant may be eligible to receive will be lessened by the five month waiting period. Special note: for social security disability claims, claimants may also be potentially eligible to receive benefits for 12 retroactive months preceding their month of application.

2. For SSI disability claims, there are no retroactive disability payment months and there is no five month waiting period. Therefore, a claimant who has been approved for SSI disability benefits may potentially be eligible to receive benefits back to the date of their application for disability. Whether or not a person will actually receive backpayment benefits this far back will be based on whether or not their medical evidence supports an early enough date of onset (known as an "established date of onset").

As you can see, back pay can be a complex and confusing issue. And this can be doubly true in instances where an individual has been approved for both SSD and SSI. However, here are several key things to remember about social security disability, SSI, and the issue of back pay.

1. The amount of back pay that you receive will depend on when you file your disability application. For this reason, if you are procrastinating about filing for disability, stop procrastinating and get your claim filed.

2. How far back your disability began (based on the evidence) will have an effect on how much back pay you can receive. For this reason, supply full and complete information about your medical records, including older medical records as well as current medical records.

3. Your onset date (when you became disabled) can be argued by your social security attorney, and this is usually done most effectively at a hearing before an administative law judge.

Additional Information:

What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?

How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?

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

Related pages:

What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability?
What is Social Security Disability Back Pay?
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay check?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
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?
Can you file for Temporary Disability Income with Social Security?

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