Getting Social Security Disability Back Pay or Retroactive Pay

Can I Get Social Security Disability Back Pay or Retroactive Pay?

If you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you may also be eligible for back payments and possibly retroactive payments. Note that back pay and retroactive pay are two different things. Whether you are eligible for either, or both, back payments and retroactive payments will depend upon the date you became disabled, the date you applied for Social Security Disability, and the date you were approved.

Social Security Disability Back Payments

Social Security Disability back payments (sometimes called “backpay”) are like “past due” benefits. Your backpay is the benefits that Social Security would have started paying you right away, if they had approved you immediately when you applied – rather than subjecting you to long delays.

In other words, once you are approved for Social Security Disability, you are entitled to back payments from your application date to the date that Social Security approves you for disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Retroactive Payments

However, retroactive benefits, are amounts paid for the months a person was disabled and unable to work before they applied for Social Security Disability. To collect retroactive Social Security Disability benefits, the applicant must be able to prove that they were disabled at least five months before their application date.

This is because there is a five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability applicants. Five months of benefits are always removed from the beginning of a disability.  In other words, the date of entitlement to benefits doesn’t start until five months after the “Established Onset Date” (“EOD”) of the disability.

Limits on Social Security Back Payments & Retroactive Payments

Technically, there is no limit on the amount of backpay a person can collect. This is because backpay is calculated back to your date of application. So, for example, if you applied for Social Security Disability on May 1st, and it took Social Security 9 months to approve your benefits, then you would qualify for a lump sum of nine months back pay. (Assuming you met the 5 month waiting period and were disabled for at least 5 months or more prior to May 1st).

There is however, a limit of twelve months on retroactive Social Security Disability benefits. So, If the Social Security Administration determines that the onset date is 17 months prior to the application date, (or more), an applicant should also be entitled to all 12 months of retroactive benefits prior to the date of their application. And remember, retroactive payments are only available to Social Security Disability Applicants, not SSI claimants.

Lump Sum Payment of Social Security Disability Back Payments & Retroactive Payments

All Social Security Disability retroactive payments and back payments are paid as one lump sum. (Note that this is different for certain SSI back payments. And, that only SSDI applicants are eligible for retroactive benefits – SSI does not offer retroactive payments).

 Our Long Beach Social Security Lawyers Can Help

If you are disabled and believe you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits -including back pay or retroactive pay – our experienced Long Beach Social Security lawyers will offer you a free consultation. Our lawyers can explain how much you may be able to collect, how long it may take, and the best way to ensure you receive the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.

Free Consultation with Long Beach Social Security Lawyer: 562-622-4800