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Social Security Back pay

Social Security Disability Backpay money on top of social security cards

The Social Security disability application process can seem rather long and tiring. The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives roughly 2.5 million applications for disability benefits each year and it thoroughly reviews each and every one. The claims process can take some time, but fortunately, you will probably be entitled to disability back pay for past due benefits.

What types of disability back pay benefits are available?

You may be eligible for two types of back benefits:

  • Delayed approval: If the SSA accepts your claim, you can receive back payments for the time between your application date and the date you started receiving benefits. If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are only entitled to back pay for any time beyond the required five-month waiting period. (More on these dates and factors in the next section.)
  • Retroactive benefits: SSDI claimants may also entitled to back payment for retroactive benefits, payable for the months between the day you become disabled and the date you filed your application for benefits. Retroactive benefits are what you would have been eligible for had you applied earlier. You may also receive family benefits back pay.

The SSA will pay SSDI back pay and retroactive benefits in one lump sum. For claimants receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the SSA will pay back benefits in installments, rather than a lump sum. Read more about the differences between SSDI and SSI.

What factors affect the date from which you are entitled to benefits?

When it comes to disability back benefits, several dates play an important role in determining how much you are entitled to. The dates that matter most include:

Application date

The date on which you file your application is important because you can collect retroactive benefits only a maximum of 12 months prior to that date. SSA calls this the “retroactive period,” and it only applies to SSDI applicants, not SSI applicants. (Remember, SSI applicants are not entitled to retroactive payments.)

Established Onset Date (EOD)

Your EOD is the date that the SSA establishes as the day you became disabled. When you file your application, you include your “alleged onset date” (AOD), or the date on which you think your disability began.

If the SSA does not challenge your AOD, it will use that date as your EOD. Either the disability examiner or an administrative law judge will determine your EOD using your application and your medical records. If the SSA challenges your AOD or was a long time before you filed your application, you will want to have a Lunn & Forro lawyer help prove your case to ensure you receive full compensation.

Waiting period

All SSDI claims are subject to a five-month waiting period. In other words, the first five months of your disability are not compensable. Your eligibility for SSDI benefits and back benefits begins on the sixth month after you became disabled.

How does SSA calculate disability back pay?

The example below illustrates how the SSA may calculate back benefits for an SSDI applicant:

(The date you became disabled)
Jan 1, 2016
Date you filed the applicationJuly 1, 2016
Date the SSA approved your benefitsJan 1, 2017
Monthly benefit amount$1,100
The months between your EOD and the date the SSA approved your claim12
Months you are eligible for back pay (The above figure minus the five-month wait period)7

Total back pay you are due

(7 months x $1,100)


How can Lunn & Forro, PLLC help me win back payments?

Our firm only accepts disability cases; we do not dilute our practice with any other area of the law. This focused approach means that our lawyers are extremely knowledgeable about all areas of disability law.

We understand the nitty gritty of Social Security disability claims, from initial applications to appeals. We know which types of evidence the examiners want to see in order to approve a claim and how to approach unique cases in which a client’s disability does not meet a listing’s specifications.

Many people who file for disability are not aware of their rights and responsibilities, which can cause them to miss out on certain benefits.

When you work with Lunn & Forro, PLLC, we will make sure you are informed and stay compliant with SSA’s requirements. We can help establish your disability date and ensure you get the back payments to which you are entitled.

Your lawyer will explain what you are eligible for in a no-nonsense manner, answer any questions you may have, and advocate on your behalf to Social Security.

After we have reviewed your case and have gotten a clear understanding of your condition, its effects, and your prognoses, we will set to work on gathering as much evidence to support your claim as possible.

And if the SSA denies your claim or challenges your AOD, we will be ready to stand up for your rights and appeal the SSA’s decision, be it in front of an administrative law judge, the Appeals Council, or federal judge.

The Social Security application process can seem daunting, but do not let that deter you. Your benefits are worth it; they can be a true financial lifesaver for you and your family. We will be there for you each step of the way.

Get a FREE Consult with a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Raleigh

You are invited to call Lunn & Forro, PLLC in Raleigh for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a disability lawyer. We accept cases at any stage of the claims process for all types of disabilities, and we do not recover payment unless you recover benefits. Contact us today at 888-966-6566 to get started.

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Established in 2011, Lunn & Forro, PLLC, is a client-focused firm recognized for excellence in providing top-level legal services. We assist the sick, injured and disabled in obtaining the benefits that they are entitled to receive.

*Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes because each case is unique and must be evaluated separately.

DISCLAIMER: The content on this site is not offered as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship and you should not rely upon it as a source of legal advice.

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