Thursday, September 09, 2010

Is There A Maximum Limit On How Much Social Security Back Pay You Can Receive?

Most disability applicants assume if they are approved for disability benefits there is an automatic back payment of disability benefits. However, this is not the case. Back payment of disability benefits is dependent upon a person’s application filing date and the established date of onset.

To clarify, the alleged date of onset is generally the first date that an individual states they were unable to perform substantial gainful activity due to their disabling condition or conditions. An alleged onset date becomes and established date of onset if Social Security determines that the disability claimant’s medical condition or conditions meet the severity requirements of disability and they are not working at a SGA level.

Substantial gainful activity is an amount of earnings that Social Security deems to be self-supporting. Since the Social Security definition of disability clearly states that a person has to be unable to perform substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable mental or physical condition, and individual cannot have an established onset date any earlier than when they became unable to work at SGA no matter what their specific mental or physical condition is.

So how does all of this determine what back pay a person can receive? And is there actually a maximum back pay amount?

Social Security can generally pay twelve months of back pay if an individual has not been able to work and meets the medical criteria of disability seventeen months prior to filing their disability claim, even if the person is approved for benefits at their initial disability claim.

If an individual has to use the Social Security disability appeal process their filing date and established date of onset will remain the same; consequently if an person is awarded disability benefits at an administrative law judge hearing, appeals council review, or in federal court, their back pay will typically be thousands of dollars.

There is no maximum limit to how much Social Security back pay you can receive. Really, it just depends on whether or not you had been out of work long before you filed and how long it actually takes you to win your disability benefits. Through my experience, I have seen back pay amounts that were over fifty thousand dollars and I am sure that there have been larger back pay amounts.

Of course, there are some disability claimants who receive no back pay or small back pay amounts. Generally, these disability claimants were awarded their disability benefits at their initial disability claim and they had just stopped performing SGA prior to filing for Social Security disability.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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