After suffering many months without income, Julia was relieved to learn she would start getting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits soon. She was even happier, although a little confused, when someone told her she would be getting SSDI back pay. Julia wondered how backpay is calculated and, more importantly, when it would arrive.
What is “back pay?”
Generally, there’s a long delay between the time you apply for benefits and the time your application is approved or denied. During that time, most people won’t be receiving any benefits. Also, SSDI applicants face a five-month waiting period because SSDI benefits are not paid for the first five months after your onset date. The SSA pays SSDI recipients back pay to cover that time period.
Also, some people may receive retroactive benefits. Another kind of back pay, retroactive payments cover the time period between your disability onset date and the date you applied for SSDI. However, retroactive pay usually is not collected for more than a 12-month time period.
Who can get back pay?
Both SSDI beneficiaries and people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) might receive back payments. However, SSI recipients will not receive retroactive benefits, because SSI does not pay this type of benefit.
The Social Security Administration (“Social Security”) does not pay interest on backpay to either SSI or SSDI beneficiaries, no matter how long they have waited.
When will my SSDI back pay arrive?
The arrival date depends, in part, on a couple of dates:
Your Onset Date. Social Security considers your application date to be your alleged onset date. This may then become your established onset date, which is the date your benefits can start. However, if you were disabled for a while before you applied, you can challenge this date. The best way to do that is by hiring a disability lawyer who knows how SSDI works.
The Wait Period. Unfortunately, Social Security applies a mandatory five-month wait period to SSDI applicants. Back pay is usually not paid for this five-month period.
Your Application Date. Your disability attorney can help here, also. This date affects any retroactive benefits you feel you should receive. You and your attorney may challenge Social Security and, if successful, increase your benefits.
We can help you apply for benefits and understand SSDI back pay
Not everyone qualifies for SSDI. Those who are awarded benefits may or may not receive back pay. Call us to discuss how the Social Security Administration might handle your disability claim.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Much of their work involves Social Security disability cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.