The process of getting approved for Social Security disability benefits can be a lengthy one. You may even need to go through several stages of appeals before the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your claim. During this time, you lose out on benefits you need to cover your expenses. Once your claim is finally approved, the good news is that you might be eligible to receive back pay for the benefits you deserved prior to your approval.
A common question among disability applicants is: When can you expect to receive your back pay? While your application was processing, it may have been necessary to incur debt to pay your bills and ensure your basic needs were met. Now, it is only natural to want your back pay as soon as possible to pay off the debt and get your finances back under control.
When to Expect Payment
Generally speaking, claimants should receive an installment of back pay within 60 days of an approved claim. However, different people have different experiences when it comes to waiting times. In some cases, you may receive all of your back pay at once well before 60 days have passed – or even before you receive notice of your benefits award. On the other hand, some back payments can get lost in the shuffle, and claimants may not see even a single payment for months.
An experienced disability attorney can help determine what happened to your back pay and work, so that you receive payment as soon as possible. Delays may occur due to processing backlogs or mistakes by processors. The right lawyer can determine what caused the delay and help resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
How Much Back Pay Will You Receive?
The SSA determines back pay on a case-by-case basis depending on different factors. Such factors include:
- The date of your application – SSDI claimants should receive back pay from at least the date of their initial application. If it took eight months for your claim to be approved, you can expect to receive back pay for those six months.
- Whether you had a protective filing date – Some people may have what is called a protective filing date, which pre-dates the completion and submission of their SSDI application. If this is the case, back pay may extend back to that date.
- The date of your disability – On your disability application, you will be required to provide the onset date of your disability. As part of the review process, the SSA examiner or an administrative law judge (ALJ)will establish an official onset date. This date is important because you might be eligible for up to 12 months of retroactive payments prior to your application date. One critical way a disability attorney can help is to fight for an accurate onset date, so you receive the full amount of back pay you deserve.
The onset date is also very important because of the potential five-month waiting period the SSA may impose after the onset date before you are eligible for benefits. The earlier your onset date, the greater the chances you will not miss out on possible benefits you deserve. If your disability award is $1,200 per month, back pay can add up quickly. If your onset date was decided to be in September but, in reality, you were disabled since March, you could miss out on $7,200 in back pay if you do not fight for an accurate onset date.
How Will You Receive Your Back Pay?
Since 2011, all disability benefits must be paid through direct deposit to recipients’ bank accounts. For this reason, you must ensure you have direct deposit set up in plenty of time, so there is no unnecessary delay in receiving your back pay.
If you were approved for SSDI, you should receive the entire amount of back pay at once, hopefully within 60 days of approval. If you are receiving SSI and have substantial back pay, you may receive three different installments, six months apart.
Back pay is a critical yet often overlooked part of any disability application. With the right attorney handling your claim, you can ensure that you will receive all of the past-due benefits you deserve since the date of your disability. This is only one of the many ways an experienced Social Security disability law firm can help during this process. Once you receive your back pay, you can cover debts and expenses, helping you move forward in the best possible financial position.