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Calculating Past Due Benefits Owed to You by Social Security

Published on February 5th, 2018

For many people that qualify, it takes a long time to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. As the Social Security Administration (SSA) goes through the application process, you may qualify for past due benefits if the SSA begins paying after the onset of your disability. There are three things that determine if you qualify for back pay from the SSA:

social security past due benefits

– Application Date. The first thing the SSA looks at when determining if any past due payments are necessary, is when the initial application was filed. Most often, an applicant can be granted pay going back to this date, and possibly up to one year prior if the onset of the disability occurred before filing.

To receive retroactive pay, that is pay for months before the application date, you must be filing for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) which is based off of the income you earned throughout your work experience. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not qualify for any retroactive payments.

There is also a category for protective filing dates, which generally are granted if a person makes a written notice that they will be appealing prior to completing the actual application. This date can be used as the application date in many circumstances, so if you’re considering filing, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney to find out how best to apply.

– Alleged Onset Date. This is the date that is determined to be the beginning point of when the disability’s affects became too severe for a person to continue earning a substantial income. This is provided by the claimant during the application process, and when the SSA reviews the application then they will determine when the disability began.

The established onset date set by the SSA is the date that retroactive payments can go Back to, however that is maxed out at one year before the application date. This date is determined by the applicants medical records and work records.

It’s important to note for this that those applying for SSI are not eligible for payments before their application date. This only applies to those that are seeking SSDI.

– Five Month Waiting Period. The SSA has a waiting period to be certain that the disability will remain in effect after benefits have been approved. For many that apply, they do so immediately upon finding out that the disability is severe enough for benefits, so in those cases the SSA wants to be certain that it will be a long lasting issue.

The five month waiting period is their set determination for that. No payments will be made for those months, so if the established onset is within five months of the application date then those months will not be counted for past due benefits. If the disability was established to be 17 months prior to the application date, then the full year of retroactive pay is eligible to be received.

Calculating the Amount Owed

If you meet the above conditions that qualify for past due benefits, then it’s fairly simple to establish how much the SSA will pay. Generally, past due payments are done in a lump sum payment for SSDI claims, and three payments for SSI that qualifies. From the date the application is approved back to the established onset date, you would count each month and add the established payment amount together to get the total. Just remember to exclude the five month waiting period from that as well.

For example, if the application filing date and the established date of onset are the same, and it takes 18 months to be approved for benefits from the application, then subtract the five month waiting period, and the total back pay will be for 13 months. If the benefit is set to be $1,000 per month by the SSA then that would provide $13,000 in back pay. For the most accurate information, it’s best to speak directly with the SSA or have a qualified attorney answer any questions you may have.


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