Applying for Social Security disability payments can be involved and overwhelming. As an applicant, you may feel that your medical condition and financial status are under an unfriendly microscope.
At times, you may wonder if the process is worth the pay out. In the case of appeals, the temptation to simply give up may enter into your mind time and again. Hang in there. Getting the help you need requires perseverance.
Keep in mind that the Social Security Administration encourages applicants to take advantage of their right to representation. Yes, you are permitted to ask a family member, friend or disability attorney to stand with, assist and encourage you through the process.
Furthermore, understanding the reality of Social Security disability payments and Social Security disability back pay gives you a realistic picture of what you are working toward. Keeping the goal or prize before you inspire you to press onward.
What are Social Security Disability payments?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) makes payments to individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition. The program sticks strictly to this definition and does not award monies for partial or short-term disability.
Claimants qualify based on two earnings tests. First, the SSA looks at a test of your ability to work at the time you became disabled which is based on your age. Second, the agency administers a duration test which assesses if you worked under Social Security long enough to receive benefits.
When Will I Know the Payment Amount?
Once you file an SSD application, processing takes three to five months. The best way to speed up this process is to provide all information listed on the application. Quickly sending additionally requested documentation keeps processing on the shorter end of the time frame.
The documentation required to complete the application consists of:
— Social Security number.
— Birth or baptismal certificate.
— Contact information and treatment dates for physicians, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics.
— Names and doses of medications.
— Medical records from doctors, therapists, clinics, hospitals and caseworkers.
— Lab and test results.
— Work history.
— W-2 forms.
— Permission to request further information from medical professionals and employers.
Again, filing this information quickly gets quicker results.
What Type of Payment Can I Expect?
In the letter you receive approving your application; the agency lists your monthly benefit and effective date. The SSA calculates the dollar amount of the benefit on your average lifetime earnings.
A few life conditions impact your benefits. If you receive other government benefits (domestic or foreign) such as workers’ compensation, your disability payment may be lower. If an outstanding warrant for your arrest exists, you violate parole or you are convicted of a crime, benefits are suspended for those months.
When Can I Anticipate a Payment?
Payments begin to accrue beginning the sixth month of disability, which accounts for a five-month waiting period following the start of the disability. Benefit checks arrive the following month on the third of the month, second, third or fourth Wednesdays. The final date is based on your birthday as the claimant.
For example, your disability begins May 10, your first benefits begin in November. However, you will receive the check for November in December. Understanding this payment calendar saves frustration and avoids waiting on a check not set to arrive.
What About Social Security Disability Back Pay?
Filing for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled allows the process to be completed in time for the sixth month start date. The SSA recommends filing as quickly as possible to get you the assistance needed. In theory, your payments begin in full as soon as permitted.
This speed of application is not always possible for various reasons. Perhaps medical treatment hindered your ability to apply. Maybe a denial followed by an appeal pushed you past a time when you should have received benefits.
Social Security disability back pay helps close the gap between your approval and when you were eligible for benefits. Using your application date, the date your disability began, the established onset date and five-month waiting period, the SSA determines the back pay due to you.
More specifically, the SSA agrees to a disability start date (established onset date or EOD) based on the medical evidence you provide. If this date falls before the application date, you are eligible for back pay beginning on the date of your application. For greater clarity, the five-month waiting period falls after the date of onset and not your application date.
When Do I Need Help?
The process of filing and following up on a SSD application is complicated and confusing. You retain the right to representation. The SSA is clear about this fact.
Finding a reputable disability attorney to walk you through the Social Security process proves wise and stress-reducing. Furthermore, the help of such a representative increases your chances of a favorable decision. The sooner the SSA approves your application, the sooner your payments arrive.