Can I Get Social Security Disability Back Pay ?
As Orange County’s premier Social Security lawyers, we are often asked by our clients if they will qualify for “back pay”. It is actually extremely common for back pay to be awarded in Social Security Disability case. Typically, Social Security back pay may be calculated back to the date when the disability application was filed, and in some cases even earlier!
The reasoning behind awarding back pay is that Social Security Disability claims take a long time to process – and the Social Security Administration does not want to penalize deserving applicants, simply because the “system” takes so long.
The date that you applied for disability, and when your disability actually began, will determine how much back pay that you will be eligible to collect.
Three primary factors will determine how far back you receive Social Security Benefits:
(1.) Application Date Determines Social Security Backpay
The date when you applied for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits is the 1st consideration in determining your disability benefits “back pay” start date.
For Social Security Disability benefits, back-pay can be awarded retroactive to the date of filing your application. In limited circumstances, retroactive benefits can be awarded up to a year prior to your application date. (Note: this never applies to SSI).
For disability claims under Social Security Insurance (SSI), back-pay may be awarded back to the first of month after which the claimant filed their disability application.
Additionally, under some circumstances a “protective filing date” may be in place that is earlier than the date that a disability application was filed. For more information, on the details of establishing a “protective filing date” give our experienced Orange County Social Security lawyers a call.
(2.) Disability Date Determines Social Security Backpay
When a Social Security Disability applicant applies for disability benefits, they indicate on their application when their disability began. The date they indicate that their disability started is called the “alleged onset date” (AOD).
Once the claimant is approved for SSD benefits he or she is given an “established onset date” (EOD) – which is the date determined by the disability examiner or administrative law to be the date when the applicant’s disability actually began. The “established onset date” (EOD) is determined based on the applicant’s medical records and their employment history.
(Note: In Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases even if the date of disability is before the application date, the SSA will not set an EOD before application date, because SSI claimants cannot receive benefits before the month of application.)
However, in Social Security Disability cases the EOD is crucial, because the EOD will determine if benefits will be paid back to the beginning of the 12-month retroactive period time!
(3.) 5 Month Waiting Period Determines Social Security Disability Backpay
Once the application has been approved, and the date of application and the EOD considered, there is a third factor of a “five month waiting period” that affects calculation of backpay in Social Security Disability benefit cases.
Social Security Disability claimants who have been approved and given an established “established onset date” (EOD) will have five months of benefits removed from the beginning of their disability. In other words, the date of Social Security Disability entitlement doesn’t start to commence until 5 months after the “established onset date” (EOD).
Example: if the claim examiner or administrative judge determines that the onset date of the disability is 17 months before the date of application (or more), the claimant would be entitled to the 12 months maximum of retroactive benefits.
Social Security Disability Back Pay Lump Sum Payment
All Social Security Disability retroactive & backpay payments are distributed to the claimant in a single lump sum.
For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), smaller back pay amounts (typically under two thousand dollars) will be awarded in one lump sum. However, larger amounts of SSI backpay are typically split into three payments that are distributed six months apart. There are some exceptions to this distribution method, however.
Orange County Social Security Lawyers
If you have been disabled and you live in Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a free consultation with an experienced California social security lawyer to help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum Social Security benefits. No matter what stage of the process you are in, we are here to offer you free advice and assist you in getting the maximum benefits for which you qualify.