What is Disability Back Pay?

Because the application process for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is lengthy, claimants are typically owed back pay. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of factors to determine back pay, which can be complicated and confusing. With the help of an experienced disability benefits attorney, you can rest assured that you will receive the benefits you deserve and the back pay owed to you.

Disability Attorneys of Arizona provides trustworthy advice and guidance to individuals who are seeking Social Security Disability benefits. We are keenly aware that navigating the application process can be daunting when someone is also coping with a disability. Our legal team routinely guides clients through all levels of the disability claims process and works tirelessly to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one needs help obtaining SSDI, we will provide you with first-rate representation and exceptional personal service.

SSDI Back Pay

Generally, the processing time for an SSDI application ranges from 3 to 6 months, however, it can take a year or longer if your claim is denied and you file an appeal. In any event, you will likely be owed back pay. This is the amount of disability pay owed to you from the date of your application until the month your claim is approved. The application date is the first and most simple factor the SSA uses in determining the time period for which you may be owed back pay.

The other factors the SSA relies on are your disability onset date and the mandatory 5-month waiting period:

Disability Onset Date

When you apply for SSDI, you must provide a date on which your impairment occurred, which is referred to as the alleged onset date (AOD). The date is said to be alleged because the SSA may make a different determination, based on your medical information and work history. Depending on this information, the SSA may or may not agree with your AOD. If the SSA agrees, that date will become the established onset date (EOD).

If the agency has contrary medical or employment evidence that shows your disability began later, however, the SSA will determine its own EOD. This is why is helps to work with an experienced disability benefits attorney. At Disability Attorneys of Arizona, we can help you establish a favorable onset date which will enable you to obtain the maximum amount of disability back pay owed to you.

The 5-Month Waiting Period

Once your disability onset date has been established, there is a mandatory 5-month waiting period before you become eligible for benefits. The SSDI waiting period is designed to make sure that the disability benefits are not being paid during the early months of a qualifying disability to individuals who end up not having a long-term disability. As an example, if your established onset date is March 1, you will not be eligible for benefits until September 1, which is referred to as your benefit entitlement date.

How is disability back pay distributed?

Unlike SSDI benefits which are paid monthly, your disability back pay will be issued in a lump sum. Once your SSDI application is approved, your back pay will be issued. Most disability benefit recipients, however, wait another month or two before receiving their lump sum back payment.

What is the difference between disability back payments and retroactive payments?

Disability back payments are past due benefits that you would have received if the SSA immediately approved your benefits application. By contrast, retroactive benefits may also be available for the months you were disabled before you submitted your application for disability benefits. To be eligible for retroactive benefits, however, you must be able to prove that you were disabled at least 5 months before you applied for SSDI.

Contact Our Arizon Disability Benefits Attorney

As you can see, establishing the onset date of your disability plays a large role in determining the amount of disability back pay owed. In some cases, it can even mean the difference between having your application approved or being denied disability benefits. With so much at stake, it is a wise idea to consult the disability attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC. Founding attorney Kiel Roeschke dedicates his practice to fighting for the rights of the disabled in Arizona and throughout the nation.

At Disability Attorneys of Arizona, we will provide you with informed representation and first-rate personal service. We will take the time to understand your unique circumstances and needs and help you navigate the SSA system. By working with our experienced legal team, you increase the likelihood that you will obtain the benefits you deserve. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation.