How to Apply for (and Win) Disability Back Pay

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is set up to assist anyone who has a disability. That’s good news for the 61 million U.S. adults who live with one.

If your condition renders you unable to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In addition, you could also receive disability back pay to cover the lag time before your benefits take effect. 

Yet, the process of applying for back pay isn’t always as easy as you’d think. Today, we’re sharing how it works, as well as why you need legal representation on your side as you move forward.

What is Disability Back Pay?

If you have a disability, you can file a claim to receive the aforementioned SSDI benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Or, you can apply for both. This applies to a range of disabilities that span both physical and mental limitations. 

While these two types of benefits sound similar, they do have a few important differences you should know.

In short, SSI is designed to provide basic financial support for older adults, as well as anyone who suffers from a disability (regardless of age). It is meant to offer assistance to persons who have limited resources and little income. In many cases, someone who qualifies for SSI will also qualify for Medicaid. 

On the other hand, SSDI is geared toward persons who have worked in the past but are now unable to do so due to a disability. If you have a qualifiying work history, this benefit can apply to you.

If you have both limited income and resources, as well as a work history, you are free to apply for both SSDI and SSI. This is true for anyone who has paid into Social Security with their FICA contributions. 

However, it can take months for your claim to be reviewed and approved. In the interim, you’re still acrruing medical costs, living expenses and more. This is where back pay comes in.

If your claim is approved, you can apply for back pay to help cover the costs you incurred while waiting for the decision. You’ll request back pay that spans from the date you applied for Social Security to the date your application was approved.

How Does the Timeline Work?

When you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits, you’ll need to declare a few important dates. The Established Onset Date is the most important one.

Put simply, this is the date that you became disabled to work.

If the Disability Determination Services (DDS) or a law judge approves your Social Security claim, then they will use the data you provided to determine the exact date of onset, or the official date you became disabled. 

Why does this date matter?

Your back pay benefits start then. The only caveat?

Your date of onset cannot be any more than 12 months prior to the date that you filed your disability claim to the SSA. Even if you max out that one-year timeframe, keep in mind that you are not eligible to receive back pay for the first five months following your date of onset.

Qualifying Factors

In addition to the factors that qualify you to receive SSDI or SSI, there are also factors to consider as you apply for back pay. Chiefly, your disability must have lasted at least 12 months, or longer. In addition, persons with terminal conditions are also eligible.

As the claim approval process can take months, your overall earnings can be significant, making the application process more than worth your time. 

Applying For Disability Back Pay With a Lawyer

Applying for Social Security benefits can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Thankfully, a disability lawyer can help.

This is a legal expert who is well-versed in every aspect of disability law, with the special knowledge required to help you navigate even the most complicated forms. 

Your Social Security disability application will include key information that describes and details your disability. Along with the application, you’ll also need to complete other forms that shed light on your medical condition, as well as your comprehensive work history.

With so many things to consider, it’s easy to miss a small detail. As such, your likelihood of receiving SSA benefits is greatly increased when you employ the assistance and guidance of a disability lawyer who is deeply familiar with SSA processes and procedures. 

Once the SSA assesses and approves your application, they will calculate your monthly back pay payments. The exact way that your payment will be distributed will depend on the SSA benefits that you were approved for (SSDI, SSI or both).

If your back pay is linked to your SSDI benefit, you’ll usually receive it all in one lump sum. It will be direct deposited into your linked account, and sometimes without notice. You may even find the money in your account before you realize that your SSA benefits have been apprved!

Understand and Fight For Your Disability Rights

A qualified disability attorney can help you understand how to apply for benefis and improve your odds of claim acceptance. The exact benefits that you’re eligible to receive will depend on a few factors, including your resources, employment, and financial stability.

If you’re seeking disability back pay in addition to SSDI or SSI benefits, our team can help.

We’re experienced Social Security disability attorneys, and we’ve helped people just like you fight for the rights and compensation they deserve. We’ll help you complete your intitial application, as well as a benefits appeal application if your claim was denied for any reason. 

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation and let’s discuss your case. 

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