disabled man meeting with attorney

Disability Back Pay Explained

Back pay, or past-due benefits, are benefits owed to you for the months you waited before being approved. 

Since it can take months, or possibly years, before you are eventually approved for benefits, it’s common to receive a lump sum of back pay.

This lump sum is based on the total number of months you are owed benefits and the monthly payment amount. It’s calculated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The rules around disability back pay can be confusing. Here’s a guide to help you understand the ins and outs of disability back pay.

First, you need to know whether you’ve been approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Back pay does not work the same way for these programs.

Back Pay for SSDI

For SSDI, there are three parts that affect your disability back pay.

1. Start date of disability

This is also known as your Alleged Onset Date (AOD). This is the date you’re telling the 

SSA your disability started, and it’s generally tied to the late date you worked. 

During the disability review process, this date must also be approved by the SSA, and it must be supported by medical evidence. The date that SSA approves as the start date of disability is called the Established Onset Date (EOD).

2. Application date

This is the date you filed your application for SSDI. If your application date is after your EOD, you may qualify for back pay for the months between your EOD date and the date of application. 

3. Five-month waiting period

The five-month waiting period is an SSA rule that says you must be disabled for five months before you can start receiving disability benefits. This means that the SSA will not pay you for the first five months after your EOD. For example, if you’re found disabled as of January 6, 2021, your disability benefits will not start until July 6, 2021.

Back Pay for SSI

For SSI, the back pay is more straightforward. The important piece you need to consider is your application date. In this case, the onset of the disability is the date you applied. This is the main difference between SSI and SSDI back pay.

Denied Disability Benefits? Don’t Give Up

If you’ve denied disability benefits, don’t give up too soon. Winning your disability case is difficult and might require going through an appeals process before eventually being approved. Many people often give up after being denied just once, but there can still be a chance of winning if you continue with the appeals process. 

Our team of attorneys are experts in the disability appeals process and will be here guide you through the disability appeals process. 

Call us today to complete a free case evaluation.