How is back pay calculated?


Social Security Disability Benefits – Calculating Back Pay

Once awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may be able to receive “back pay” for the past months leading up to the day you were awarded disability benefits. This is a big reason why getting a persons onset date is so important as well as a few others.  There is a maximum number of 12 months for which a person can collect back pay, and there is a 5 month waiting period for SSDI that needs to be considered when determining back pay. 

What does the Five Month Waiting Period Mean?

The 5 month waiting period means that you can not collect SSDI benefits until you have been disabled for 5 complete months except for a few conditions which SSA has started to waive the five month requirement on. It's a little bit of a mystery why the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires this 5 month waiting period other than it made it in to some legislation and has remained there ever since. Many people believe that it is just a way for the Social Security Administration to save money. It might be a way to make sure that only people with long term disabilities will apply for SSDI.

Whether you live in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Franklin, Atlanta, Lexington or anywhere else in the USA, the Social Security Disability application and appeal process can often take well over a year before your claim is approved. Your back pay will include all the past months starting 5 complete months after the onset of your disability. Your social security disability back pay amount cannot be more than 12 months.

This means that in order for you to get the maximum amount of back pay (12 months), the onset of your disability must have occurred at least 17 months prior to the day you are awarded benefits. The DDS examiner or if you are at the hearing level, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will be looking for evidence in your medical records to support the date you claim that you became disabled. If the examiner or judge believes the disability started on a date other than the date you claim, then they will change the official date of your disability onset, which could affect the amount of back pay you will receive or even the type of benefits you maybe eligible for.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there is not a 5 month waiting period; however, your back pay is for all the past months starting when you first applied for SSI on your current claim.

Studies show 85% of Social Security Claims are initially denied without the help of an attorney or qualified representative. Betz and Baril offers no cost representation unless we win to help you get approved fast.

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