CALIFORNIA Social Security Disability BACK PAY

Social Security Back Pay in California

Social security back pay is exactly that. It's what social security "owes you back" after your claim has finally been approved. Back pay, of course, is a huge issue for Social Security Disability claimants in California since most claimants go months and even years with no source of appreciable income.


1. Maximum back pay you can get for Social Security Disability
2. How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
3. What is Social Security Disability Back Pay?
4. Do you always get disability back payments from social security?

How far back can Social Security Disability back pay go? The answer is not quite as clearcut as one might think. One way to answer the question is to say that Social Security Disability benefits can be paid back to the date of application and up to 12 months retroactive to this date. However...title II (a.k.a. Social Security Disability) benefits are subject to something akin to an "elimination period" (a term that generally applies to private disability policies---and, in fact, Social Security Disability is considered by the government to be a form of insurance).

In the case of SSD benefits, this is called the five month waiting period, meaning that no matter when your disability is considered to have begun, the social security administration will essentially remove five months of your benefits from you (it's worth noting that the five month waiting period does not apply to SSI disability claims).

In the prior paragraph, the phrase "when your disability is considered to have begun" was used, because though a claimant may potentially receive social security backpay back to the date of application (and even 12 months prior to the date of application), whether or not a claimant actually receives benefits from this far back will depend on the claimant's established onset date.

The EOD, or established onset date, is the date that a claimant's disability is determined to have begun, based on the claimant's medical records. In many cases, a claimant's medical records will establish an onset date that is fully favorable in relation to the date that was claimed on the disability application. But this is not always the case.

Back pay can seem to be a fairly complex issue, depending on a number of factors such as when a claimant's disability onset date is determined and when the claimant applied for disability. And adding to the complexity is the fact that claimants who are approved for disability benefits and who filed prior disability applications (meaning prior to the application they were actually approved for) can sometimes, if the medical record warrants, have their prior cases reopened for the purpose of receiving a larger backpayment.

And this is certainly the type of instance in which having qualified representation can make a definable difference in the benefit-award outcome of a case. Because an experienced representative will typically attempt to establish the earliest and most favorable onset date for a Social Security Disability claimant.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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