Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

If I Am Determined Disabled, How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?

How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI disability benefits is determined by the date you filed your disability claim, i.e. when you applied for Social Security and/or SSI disability.

How much back pay you actually get, however, will depend on how far back you filed a disability claim, but also how long it took for you to actually win your disability case. Most individuals do not get approved for disability the first time they file. Most do not get a disability award on their first appeal as well (although, it should be said that by the time the first appeal has been finished, probably about 40 percent of individuals will have been approved). Obviously, the longer your case stays in the system, the more back pay will be owed to you by the time you are finally awarded benefits. This is why many claimants receive back pay in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Back Pay and Social Security Disability applicants

However, back to the question of how far back will Social Security pay benefits, there is another factor that affects how much back pay you can get other than simply A. When you filed and B. how long it took to be approved. That factor is known as retroactive disability benefits.

Social Security Disability applicants may be eligible for disability benefits for twelve months prior to the date of filing for disability. These retroactive benefits can result in much larger total back pay and can be paid provided the disabled individual has been disabled and unable to work at a substantial level for at least seventeen months prior to filing.

Why seventeen months? Ok, this is where things may begin to get mildly confusing, which is understandable because the SSD and SSI system is very confusing. Social Security has a five-month waiting period that applies to Social Security Disability claims for which they never pay disability benefits. Think of it as a five-month elimination period such as might be found on a private insurance policy. Because the five month waiting period takes five months of your benefits away, this means that to get your full 12 months of retroactive benefits added to your total back pay, you would need to prove that you became disabled according to the SSA definition of disability at least 17 months before you even filed for disability.

Note: retroactive benefits and the five month waiting period only apply to SSD, the Social Security Disability program. They are not part of the SSI disability program.

Back Pay and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, applicants

How far back can a person filing for SSI get disability benefits? Since there are no retroactive benefits, SSI disability applicants are first entitled to monthly disability benefits for the month in which they filed for disability--provided, of course, that they meet the income and resource requirements of the SSI program and provided also that their medical evidence supports a "disability onset date" (the onset date is when the claimant became disabled) at least as far back as their date of their disability application, or SSI date of filing for disability.

Note: As stated, for SSI disability there is no five-month waiting period which effectively confiscates a Social Security Disability applicant's first five months of benefits; by the same token, though, there are no disability benefits payable for any time prior to the filing date of their disability application, i.e. there are no retroactive benefits in the SSI program.

Special Note: Please keep in mind (as was previously mentioned, SSD and SSI are notoriously confusing for many people) that "retroactive benefits" and "back pay" are not the same thing. Retroactive benefits are those that may be payable for the time before a person has even filed for disability...and they only pertain to the Social Security Disability (SSD) program.

Back pay pertains to both the SSI and Social Security Disability programs. Back pay, or past due benefits, are simply those benefits that are due to the claimant as a result of A) What date their disability is considered to have begun (as established by the medical records) and B) How long it has taken to process their disability claim.

A good example of "B" is a person who has had to take their Social Security case before a federal ALJ, administrative law judge and, thus, has had their claim in the system for three years or more; such a person would likely be owed a significant amount of back pay due to how long their case has been pending from the time after filing a claim.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

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Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

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Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

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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 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?
Can I work if I have not received my disability award letter?
If you apply for disability in New Mexico
Getting a Disability Lawyer in New Mexico

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.