How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it

What is Social Security back pay and will you get disability back pay? Both SSDI back pay and SSI back pay are based upon the date you became unable to work due to a medical or mental condition.

Many disability applicants are eligible for a back payment of disability benefits once they are approved. Note I said “many”. Not all disability applicants are eligible for disability back pay benefits.

For example, an individual who performed SGA level work activity --meaning they engaged in work activity and earned at least as much as the SGA cutoff in effect for a given year (See How much can you earn and still receive disability?) --up until the date they filed for disability benefits may not have any back pay because their entitlement date for disability benefits is a future date, meaning that no back pay benefits would have accrued.

What Back Pay depends on

Back pay depends upon the type of disability benefits an applicant is entitled to receive, the date they became disabled i.e. the onset date of disability, the date they filed their application, and how long it takes Social Security to approve them for disability.

If a disability claim has to go to an administrative law judge hearing, the claimant's back pay will be substantially larger than the back pay of an individual who is approved for disability benefits at the initial claim or reconsideration appeal level.

SSI and Back Pay

If you qualify for SSI disability, a need-based disability benefit program, you will be entitled to receive benefits as far back as your date of disability application, provided you meet the non-medical requirements regarding the income and resource limitations of the program, in addition to the medical qualifications. of course, if your case goes on for very long (this is usually true), then your back pay benefits may be substantial.

Note: If an individual is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits only, then the entire back payment is released to them when their claim is processed. But, if an individual is awarded SSI only, then the rules are different as SSI back pay is paid in installments.

SSD and Back pay

If you qualify for Social Security Disability, you will be entitled to benefits as far back as your date of application and potentially even 12 months retroactive to this. Therefore, you may also be entitled to substantial back pay benefits depending on how long your claim takes.

Unfortunately, however, for Social Security Disability applicants, there is a a five month waiting period, which simply means that after you have been approved, the social security administration will eliminate your first five months of benefits. This usually will not affect how long it actually takes to begin receiving your benefits because most claimants are entitled to years of back pay benefits. But keep in mind that the social security administration will essentially hold back what would have been your first five months of payments.

The five month waiting period generally begins with the month following the EOD (established date of onset, which is Social Security's determination of when you became disabled according to the medical and vocational evidence), unless the EOD is the first or second day of the month.

If a disability beneficiary’s date of onset is the first or second day of the month, the month can be included as the first month of the five-month disability waiting period. This waiting period effectively reduces the amount of any back payment of Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security never pays for disability monetary benefits for the five months of the waiting period.

How long will it take your receive your Social Security Disability back pay?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. It may take some time to receive your Social Security back pay, especially if you were awarded your disability benefits at a disability hearing by a federal judge.

Moreover, you may not receive your disability back pay in one lump sum, if you are approved for SSI disability as opposed to Social Security Disability. Supplemental Security Income recipients can only receive their back pay in increments, so as not to interfere with the income and resource limits of the program.

Furthermore, Social Security Disability recipients may have to wait longer to receive their back pay if there are any SSI benefits involved (which may be the case if an individual has a concurrent claim, i.e. a claim for both Social Security Disability and SSI).

Lastly, Social Security pays SSDI and SSI back pay differently. Social Security Disability beneficiaries receive their back pay disability benefit in one lump sum, while SSI disability beneficiaries receive their back payment in installments that basically allow for an initial payment, one six months later and a final installment at the one year mark.

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

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

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

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Back pay that a claimant may be eligible to receive
Four factors that affect the disability back payment amounts
How much Back Pay?
For Social Security Disability, back pay will be payable back to...
SSI disability back pay
When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay?
Back Pay and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI
Social Security Disability SSI Application Hearing Tips: Describing work

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, SSDRC.com 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 SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.