In most SSDI/SSI claims, where an individual is awarded benefits, they will be entitled to past-due benefits or “backpay.” Typically, these past-due benefits can be dated to the day the claim was originally filed or in certain instances, to a date even further back in time. Why does this happen? The reason for this backpay issue boils down to the fact that Social Security disability claims can take a very long time to process. Since most people are denied one or more times before being awarded benefits, many SSDI and SSI claims can take anywhere from several months to years. However, the amount of disability backpay benefits you may be entitled to depend on several different factors. And the amount of time you must wait to receive these benefits can vary as well. Keep reading to learn more.
How Does the Social Security Administration Determine Backpay Benefits?
1. Application Date
Typically, with Social Security disability claims, applicants can receive backpay benefits dating back to the date that they originally filed their claim. Depending on your claim, you may also be able to receive retroactive benefits dating back to a full year before your original application date. When working with the Social Security Administration, this year is known as the “retroactive period.”
However, this retroactive period does not apply to SSI claims. With SSI disability claims, applicants may be eligible for benefits dating back to the first month after their original application date. This date is typically referred to as a “protective filing date” and will be an important date to remember as you go through the claims process.
2. Date of Disability
Even more important than your filing dates is the onset date of your disability—or the date that your disability first began. When you fill out your SSDI claim forms, you must indicate the date you believe you first experienced your disability, this is called the “alleged onset date” of your disability. However, when you are approved for benefits, an “established onset date” will be determined by an administrative law judge assigned to your case during the appeals process or the DDS disability examiner. An established onset date is determined based on your work history and medical records.
3. The 5-month Waiting Period
The final factor that affects your disability payments is the 5-month waiting period. For SSDI applicants who have been approved for benefits with an established onset date, 5 months’ worth of benefits will be removed from the beginning of your disability. This is often referred to as the “date of entitlement” and doesn’t kick in until 5 months from your established onset date.
For those who have had an examiner or judge determine that your onset date is 17 or more months before your application date, you will likely be entitled to 12 months of retroactive benefits, prior to the protective filing date.
What Happens If I’m Awarded Backpay?
If you were approved for both SSDI and SSI benefits, there is a chance that you may end up waiting longer to receive your backpay than if you had only been awarded SSDI benefits. Backpay that is owed for an approved SSDI claim is received in a lump sum but an exact payment window can be somewhat unpredictable.
Consult with a Social Security Attorney at Joel Thrift Law
If you are unsure whether you are entitled to backpay for an SSDI or SSI claim, speaking with an experienced Social Security attorney can be extremely helpful. Please give us a call at (404) 618-4816 or contact our friendly SSDI specialists today for more information.