Retroactive payments are payments that cover a point at which you were disabled, but had not yet applied for benefits. This may be because you didn't know you qualified, or hadn't gotten a chance to start the application yet.
SSI Cases and Retroactive Payments
In the case of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there is no truly retroactive payment. Individuals who are approved for benefits can only receive payments going back to the initial date of application, regardless of the date of onset and duration of disability.
This means that if you are an adult applying for cerebral palsy, you will only be entitled for payments beginning at the date at which you first applied, even though cerebral palsy is present at birth.
Because many SSI cases become quite lengthy (routinely taking up to several years), a claimant can be reimbursed for payments they would have received during the time of the approval process. This reimbursement of benefits is known as "back pay."
SSDI Cases and Retroactive Payments
For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases, those approved can be awarded back payments for up to twelve months prior to the date of application if it is determined that they were disabled for that entire length of time. Even if the duration of an individual's disability extends back further than that, the SSA will not reimburse people for more that one year prior to their initial application date.
Getting Help with your Application
If you are currently involved in an appeal for SSI or SSDI and are unsure if you will be awarded the appropriate back pay, you should contact a qualified Social Security lawyer now.