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How Does Disability Backpay Work?

When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on a disability, you can often receive back payments based on several factors.

These factors essentially come down to the question of whether or not you would have received payments had your application been approved immediately. Like most bureaucracies, the Social Security Administration moves slowly. Back pay helps those who were disabled before or at the time of filing their application.

Back payments and retroactive payments are critical sources of income for those who have a reduced or nonexistent capacity to work. Therefore, all applicants should consider the following information and talk with a California disability lawyer to increase their chances of getting the income they so badly need.

Retroactive Payments Before the Application Date

SSDI applicants may be eligible to receive what is known as “retroactive payments” for a period of up to a year before their application was completed and sent.

Determining eligibility for retroactive payments involves considering the date when the disability began, known as the onset date. Applicants can present a written statement along with documentation from their physician to establish an Alleged Onset Date (AOD). Upon review by a DDS disability examiner or an administrative law judge, an Established Onset Date (EOD) will be set.

If the EOD falls before or within the reachback period of up to one year for SSDI, then the applicant may be approved for retroactive benefits.

SSI applicants are not eligible for an EOD before their application date. However, most SSI payments begin on the next first of the month date that falls after their application. So, if someone applied on March 26, the first date they would be normally eligible to receive payments is April 1.

An EOD may be established on the date of application, potentially allowing SSI applicants to recover a partial month’s payment, such as the 26th to the 31st of March in the above example.

Back Payments

While retroactive payments refer to payments for periods prior to the application date, back payments refer to payments the SSDI or SSI recipient would have gotten had their application been accepted immediately. These are assessed based on whether the EOD falls on or before the time of application.

Protective Filing Date and Day Last Insured

SSDI operates similar to an entitlement program, but it is actually a form of insurance. This insurance is covered by employers. Some self-employed people like business owners and contractors may pay their own SSDI premiums.

The SSA only provides funding for the amount of SSDI premiums the employer paid in total, so SSDI can easily run out.

Also, if the applicant files after they stopped working or receiving paychecks, their application will be denied because they were not currently covered. However, they can file for a protective filing date that states their intent to file, and this can establish an earlier “day last insured” date and make them eligible again for SSDI.

SSDI Five Month Waiting Period

The SSA has created a five-month ineligibility period for SSDI following the EOD. The applicant cannot receive retroactive or back pay related to this five month period. Therefore, someone would have to be disabled at least 17 months prior to their application date to receive the full year of retroactive payments.

Receiving Your SSDI and SSI Back Pay with the Help of a California Disability Lawyer

If you are approved for retroactive payments and back payments as an SSDI recipient, you will receive all of them in one lump sum. SSI recipients eligible for back pay will receive three installment payments spaced six months apart.

You can get this money you need if you can satisfy all of the filing requirements and eligibility factors the SSA demands. Having a California disability lawyer can help improve your chances and simplify the application process. Call the number above or use our convenient contact form to start the process today.

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