Do You Always Get Back Pay With Disability?

Submitted by rsg on

Almost everyone gets back pay, but there are some cases when someone will not. The reason for this is because it takes so long to process applications for disability benefits. Once an application is approved payment is backdated to the initial application date. 

There's one exception to the fact that just about everyone is entitled to back pay and that is when SSDI recipients who have been awarded disability benefits under the compassionate allowance scheme receive their benefits far faster so they won’t be eligible for much back pay. Also because there is a waiting period of 5 months from the date of the application if the claim is approved within the 5 month period there is no back pay entitlement.

Who Gets Disability Back Pay?

Applicants for disability benefits may have to wait a long time before hearing an answer from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is how back pay can accrue. Back pay covers the months you should have received disability benefits, but you did not.

However, because there is a waiting period of 5 months that is not covered by back pay, if your claim is approved within those 5 months then you will not receive any back pay at all.

How Is Back Pay Calculated?

When back pay is calculated several facts are taken into consideration by the SSA which typically include the following:

  • the date the application was filed;
  • the date of the start of the disability;
  • the date the application was approved

In addition back pay only starts 5 months after you began the application process but you may be able to get retroactive payments for the time between the date you began experiencing a disabling condition and the date you applied. Retroactive payments only apply to SSDI applicants for the time passed between the onset of the disability to the date that the application was passed. Retroactive payments are paid for 12 months prior to the date of the application being approved.

To be paid retroactive payments you must be able to prove that you were disabled before you applied for Social Security Disability Benefits and that you were disabled at least 5 months before your application date. When your application is finally approved, your retroactive payments will be calculated along with your back pay, and you will be provided with a lump sum that will include both your back pay and retroactive payments. On average, most applicants will wait 1-2 months before receiving their lump sum payment.

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