Highly Seasoned Legal Professionals

What is SSDI back pay?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | social security disability |

The time between the application for and the decision on a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim typically takes between three to six months. Then, if your application is denied, you must go through the appeal process.

If your claim is eventually approved, what happens to the money you would have been due during that long wait?

You won’t lose those benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) refers to these unpaid benefits as “past-due benefits.” This payment covers the period of time between when you filed for disability and when you were approved – and, sometimes, even more.

This money may include:

  1. Back pay, which is a payment that covers the period between your application date and your first regular check after you are approved. 
  2. Retroactive benefits, which can be paid if you waited to apply for benefits for a while after becoming disabled. Essentially, SSA will “look back” from your filing date to see if they can establish an earlier onset date for your disability. That can entitle you to a maximum of 12 months of additional past-due benefits.

It’s important to note that SSA imposes a five-month waiting period between when you become disabled and when you become eligible for cash benefits, so you may not receive a payment for each month. For example, if you filed immediately after you became disabled and it takes eight months to get a decision, you would be due three months’ checks. If you waited a long time before you filed and your onset date was established at least 17 months prior to your filing, you would be due 12 months of retroactive benefits plus the eight months you waited for a decision.

Applying for Social Security Disability can feel like a challenging task. A lot of paperwork is required, such as previous employment, medical records, test results and current medications. Working with someone who understands the SSDI application process gives you a better chance of getting the benefits you need. Call an attorney who handles such matters to assist you.