How Does SSDI Back Pay Work?

How Does SSDI Back Pay Work?

The process to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is a long one. Even if you’re approved as soon as possible, it can still take some time before you start to see those benefits. If you’re initially declined and later win benefits upon appeal, a lot more time will pass where you don’t see any money coming in to cover your disability costs. 

Fortunately, SSDI includes back pay in which you can be retroactively awarded the benefits you would have received had your claim been approved right away. There are a few factors to keep in mind about back pay to ensure you’re getting all the benefits you deserve. Learn all the details about how back pay works.

How Much Back Pay Is Awarded?

The specific amount of back pay you receive can vary quite a bit based on a variety of factors. For the most part, your back pay depends on the date the Social Security Administration determines that your disability began. This will be the official established onset date determined by a Disability Determination Services (DDS) examiner or administrative law judge. Medical records will be required to establish a specific date.

SSDI back pay works a bit differently than SSI back pay. While SSI back pay is provided incrementally to not put too much strain on Social Security services in general, SSDI back pay is provided in one lump sum, so you’ll be awarded the back pay in a single instance to make up for the coverage lost during the length of the approval process.

How Far Back Does Back Pay Stretch?

While back pay can stretch back as far as the official established onset date, there is a limit to how far back that coverage can go. At most, back pay can be awarded from up to 12 months before the date of your application. If your established onset date is more than 12 months prior to your application date, you will only receive coverage from those 12 months.

It’s also important to remember that there’s an established five-month waiting period when applying for SSDI. If you’re approved before the five-month waiting period is over, you won’t be entitled to any back pay. The 12-month limit also applies. For example, if you finally receive your benefits 18 months after your application, and your established onset date is the day you applied, then you’ll only be awarded back pay for the past 12 months rather than the full 18.

When Is Back Pay Awarded?

Planning for your back pay is a bit unpredictable. There are instances in which you may get back pay shortly after your disability benefits are approved, or you may have already been receiving disability payments for a while once your back pay is applied. In some cases, you may find the back pay in your account without any kind of notice before your regular benefits even start coming in. 

Back Pay As Income

SSDI and SSI work a bit differently and involve a new set of rules when you apply for both. The most noticeable difference is that your back pay under SSDI will count as income when determining the SSI you qualify for. This is because back pay is treated as funds you had access to throughout your disability period. That means your SSI will likely be reduced in response to the additional countable income. 

Hire a Disability Attorney for Back Pay Issues

Dealing with back pay when trying to get disability benefits can be a long and frustrating process. Having an experienced attorney at your side throughout the case will make the entire process easier and increase your chances of getting all the benefits you deserve. That’s where Joel Thrift Law is happy to help. We have a long history of success with Social Security and disability cases, and we’re happy to help you get the benefits you deserve in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. Get in touch with our team today, and we can schedule you for a free consultation.