As you may know by now, applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability benefits is not something that happens overnight. It’s a process that takes about 12-16 months to fully complete. During this time you are most likely struggling to work or completely unable to work, preventing you from making an income to support yourself. Although there isn’t much the Social Security Administration can do to speed up this process, it is possible for them to help you out once you have been granted SSI or disability benefits (Note: not all will be entitled to back pay). They are able to do this through Social Security back pay.
There are a couple of things that go into determining how much back pay you’ll receive, some of these are listed below:
• Date you become physically/mentally disabled
• Date you stop working due to a physical/mental disability
• Date you file for SSI/disability benefits
• Date you are approved for SSI/disability benefits
Your back pay will also be determined on whether you are applying for SSI or Social Security disability benefits. As long as you meet both the medical and non-medical requirements (income related) you will be eligible for back pay under the SSI disability program. If qualified, under this program you could receive back pay from the date you filed for SSI.
If you are applying under the Social Security disability benefits program, the same qualifications apply. However, what back pay you get may differ from what you’d receive under the SSI program. Not only could you receive back pay from the date you applied, but you could be eligible for back pay 12 months before your application date. The biggest difference between this program and the SSI program is the fact that once you have been approved, the Social Security Administration will only pay benefits from 6 months after your disability onset date to the present. So the first 5 months after your disability onset date will not be included in back pay (this is known as the 5 month waiting period). They have this waiting period to ensure that benefits are only being paid to those who have a long-term disability and not a short-term disability (those with short-term would not qualify for such benefits). It is important to remember, though, that this waiting period won’t affect the date that you actually start receiving your benefits.
After being approved, it could take some time to receive you back pay benefits. If you applied under the SSI program you will see your back pay benefits come to you in portions rather than all at once. They do this to prevent from going over the program limitations. If you applied under the Social Security disability benefits program, you could see your back pay benefits come to you in a lump; however, you may have to wait a little longer to receive these benefits than you would if you were in the SSI program. Just keep in mind that there is no universal date as to when you will receive these back pay benefits, they will all differ with each individual case.