Sunday, June 11, 2006

Social Security Back Pay

Social security back pay is exactly that. It's what social security "owes you back" after your claim has finally been approved. Back pay, of course, is a huge issue for social security disability claimants since most claimants go months and even years with no source of appreciable income.

How far back can social security disability back pay go? The answer is not quite as clearcut as one might think. One way to answer the question is to say that social security disability benefits can be paid back to the date of application and up to 12 months retroactive to this date. However...title II (a.k.a. social security disability) benefits are subject to something akin to an "elimination period" (a term that generally applies to private disability policies---and, in fact, social security disability is considered by the government to be a form of insurance). In the case of SSD benefits, this is called the five month waiting period, meaning that no matter when your disability is considered to have begun, the social security administration will essentially remove five months of your benefits from you (it's worth noting that the five month waiting period does not apply to SSI disability claims).

In the prior paragraph, the phrase "when your disability is considered to have begun" was used, because though a claimant may potentially receive social security backpay back to the date of application (and even 12 months prior to the date of application), whether or not a claimant actually receives benefits from this far back will depend on the claimant's established onset date.

The EOD, or established onset date, is the date that a claimant's disability is determined to have begun, based on the claimant's medical records. In many cases, a claimant's medical records will establish an onset date that is fully favorable in relation to the date that was claimed on the disability application. But this is not always the case.

Back pay can seem to be a fairly complex issue, depending on a number of factors such as when a claimant's disability onset date is determined and when the claimant applied for disability. And adding to the complexity is the fact that claimants who are approved for disability benefits and who filed prior disability applications (meaning prior to the application they were actually approved for) can sometimes, if the medical record warrants, have their prior cases reopened for the purpose of receiving a larger backpayment. And this is certainly the type of instance in which having qualified representation can make a definable difference in the benefit-award outcome of a case. Because an experienced representative will typically attempt to establish the earliest and most favorable onset date for a social security disability claimant.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Attorney for a disability Claim
Application for social security disability
Social security appeal
Disability Carpal Tunnel


Blogger marjoricharmaine said...

What if you have been awarded and started recieving monthly payments,but they have not paid everything they owe you as far as back pay? SSA sent a letter saying they made a mistake when calculating my past due benifits and that they owe me another 10,000.00or so. Letter was received Dec.7, but they make no mention of whem they will pay.I need to buy a house for myself and 11 yr. old son[who also receives monthly benefit from my work history and already was paid 9,670.00 back pay].The tax credit for first time homebuyers will end soon and I need my back pay plus tax credit for downpayment.Is there any way to finance a home purchase with award letter as good faith? Thanks for letting me vent ..

7:41 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...


If Social Security sent you the letter on December 7, I would guess that you should receive the money this month if it truly was just an error on the part of Social Security. Although, it would be my guess that you had some entitlement to SSI disability benefits.

If an individual receives SSI benefits first there is a special computation to repay the money to SSI. This computation is known as the windfall offset and it determines how much of your Social Security back pay you will receive.

Your son's back pay did not involve windfall offset so he received his entire Social Security back pay amount.

I really doubt in this day and age that it is possible to get a legitimate home mortgage with a letter of good faith. Hopefully, you will receive the money soon. You could always check with your local Social Security office to see if they could expedite the handling of your back pay. I would at least check the status of the back payment, so I could plan accordingly.

I really wish I could tell you more. Good luck.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My husband family had applied him for Disability when he was 3 and approved but shortly took him off. Then he applied at 18 but was unable to finish the process now he is 23, would he get back pay from when he was 3 or 18, if any at all?

10:12 AM  
Blogger Looking for answers said...

I've been separated from my wife for 19 months and we live in different states. I filed for divorce last October with the agreement we would keep the assets that we had at that time. I recently received my Social Security back pay. Does she have any rights to this money?

8:49 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Sarah, There would be no back payment involved in your husband's disability claim. If he applied as a child it would have involved the Supplemental Security Income disability program. This is a need-based disability program and disability entitlement depends on income, resources, and the date of filing (when he files for disability).

Your income and resources would be included in the disability determination since you are a couple. If he has worked enough to be insured for Social Security disability, a claim would have to be taken as well and the onset date for the disability program depends on when he stopped working at a substantial, gainful level. Social Security has a monthly gross earnings amount that it considers to be substantial gainful activity and he would not be eligible for disability until his earnings are under that amount. Good luck.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Looking for answers,

As far as Social Security is concerned your Social Security back pay is yours and your spouse or ex-spouse to be has no entitlement to it. Social Security pays the money to the disabled individual not their spouse. Now I cannot not advise as to any divorce or family law, I can only say that Social Security will not be involved in any divisions of your back pay.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Looking for answers said...

Thank you for the advice.I spoke with my divorce lawyer and he assured me that she has no rights to any of my back pay.

1:22 PM  
Blogger jonjonrivers said...

I want to know the rules about back pay.

Thinks like what are aloud to do with your back pay and what you aren't aloud to do with back pay.

Am I aloud to just take the whole back pay out of the bank and whatever I want, the problem is I been living for years with out money, and it hurts me financially to know that they will deduct money if you have to much of it. It makes me angry that people can't save that money..Any ideas please?

5:14 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

JonJon, I responded here: Can I do What I want with my Social Security Back Pay?

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received my disability letter and it stated my back pay March 2010 through July 2011 is being withheld to see if a reduction due to ssi. I never received ssi however I did receive unemployment during part of that time does that take any part of my back pay? Also would I get the full monthly payment 1,061.00 for the 16 months as stated - March 2010 - July 2011 in one lump sum or installments. Thank You

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:37 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Anonymous, I addressed your question here: Can you Receive the Social Security Back Pay of a Spouse who dies after the Disability Case is Won?

8:46 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Confused, I made a response to your situation here: SSI back payment benefits may be deducted from SSD back pay

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started filieing ssi disability claims since i was 16 or older. I have heart trouble due to rhumatice heart disease. i have shortness of breath, headachecs and i have liver problems. i could not play any sports in school, nor enlist in the military. just recently i went back to lsus medical center and was tested, so i was put on no work, i am aconstruction worker turned cdl truck driver with no income. do i need a lawyer or just wait for their decision.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Anonymous, sometimes having representation can help before a denial occurs. However, most individuals will do fine if they wait to see what the initial decision is. After a denial, it makes sense to look into representation because most claims that have been denied on a disability application will later involve a hearing and you really don't want to go to one of those by yourself.

1:29 PM  

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