The People's Blog by Betz and Baril


How are Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits Calculated?

Posted by Jason Baril | May 08, 2021 | 0 Comments

Why does a Social Security Disability Claimant receive back pay?

When a Claimant applies for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, it can take a long time to be approved.  Because of this, many people are entitled to several months of back benefits when they finally win their cases. To determine how those back benefits are calculated, you must first know that not everyone receives the same size disability check.

The monthly amount you receive is based on your average lifetime earnings also known as a PIA. You can check your personal Social Security Statement, and your earnings record by creating a my social security account through the Social Security Administration's website. The amount increases the more you have worked or earned in the past. If you are a disabled widow or widower, the rate depends on how much your late spouse worked or earned in the past.

How do Back Benefits begin Accruing?

You may be entitled to back benefits. These benefits begin accruing five months after your disability onset date and they accrue until you win your Social Security Disability case or a final decree is entered in your case. Because getting SSD benefits can take such a long time, many people are entitled to months and months of back benefits when they finally win their cases.

What is your Disability Onset Date?

The alleged onset is the date that you claim on your Social Security application that your disability began.  This is also the date that you feel you became unable to work. With Social Security Disability benefits (SSD), you can receive retroactive pay as far back as 12 months from the date you applied for benefits if you were disabled before you applied.

To get the full Social Security Disability backpay of 12 months, you would have had to have become disabled at least 17 months before the date you applied, because there is a waiting period of five months after becoming disabled in which benefits are not paid or owed. So paid benefits can start as far back as 12 months from the date you file but you will not receive those until DDS or an administrative law judge adjudicates you disabled. 

For SSI recipients, there is no retroactive pay. If you are approved, you will get paid benefits from the month you applied. Remember there are two programs SSDI and SSI one is an insurance program while the other is an entitlement program.

Where Does the Money Come From?

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) come from payments made by working Americans. These payments are made in the form of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes and are withheld from your wages. You may have noticed these taxes coming out of your paycheck before you ever considered filing for Social Security Disability. If you have spent enough time working at a job where you were required to pay FICA taxes, you will probably be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you are disabled

Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are considering applying for either SSD or SSI benefits, or have been denied these benefits and need representation, do not delay.  Contact an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney. Call the Social Security Disability Attorneys at Betz & Baril at 865-888-888 for a free no obligation consultation and to tilt the scales of justice in your favor.

About the Author

Jason Baril

Jason has spent his entire career fight for those who need help and often times do not get the help they need. In addition to Immigration Law, Jason has worked on Criminal, Social Security Disability and Personal Injury cases which gives him diverse experience on many legal issues. 


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