Basics on Backpay for Social Security Disability Benefits

Most Social Security Disability claims take a long time to process. Applicants who are approved at the initial stage typically wait several months for a decision, and those who end up filing an appeal wait at least a year – in some cases, a few years – before receiving any benefits.

Because of this, just about everyone who is awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receives backpay. Also referred to as retroactive or past-due benefits, backpay refers to the benefits the applicant would have received if their disability claim had been immediately approved.

If your disability application is approved, how much in backpay can you expect to receive? Here’s a look at what the Social Security Administration considers when determining the amount of past-due benefits to distribute.

Disability benefits Utah

Backpay for SSDI Claims

If you’re approved for SSDI benefits, the SSA will look at the date your disability began – referred to as the established onset date (EOD) — to calculate the amount of your backpay.

You may be awarded a maximum of 12 months of past-due benefits, but the number of months for which you’ll be entitled to backpay will depend upon the date you filed your disability application. The SSA applies a five-month waiting period in SSDI claims, so to receive 12 months of retroactive benefits, your EOD must be at least 17 months prior to your application date.

Regardless of the amount, backpay for SSDI claims is always paid in a single lump sum.

Backpay for SSI Claims

If you’re approved for SSI benefits, you will be entitled to backpay for the period beginning the first full month after you filed your disability application. Unlike SSDI claims, no waiting period applies – but, you won’t be eligible for any past-due benefits for the time before you applied.

When the amount of backpay owed is large, the money is typically paid out in three separate installments. The payments are sent every six months, and the first two are capped at three times the maximum monthly SSI benefit. Any remaining backpay, no matter the amount, comes in the third payment.

Exceptions to the rule exist, however, and SSI recipients can ask the SSA for an exemption from the installment limits.

Consult with an Experienced Disability Advocate

Did you know that most Social Security Disability claims are initially denied? Getting the benefits you need may not be easy, but you don’t have to go it alone.

To improve your chances of an approval for SSDI or SSI, turn your case over to an experienced advocate — like the team at Mountain West Disability. We can provide you with help during every stage of the Social Security Disability claims process, and you won’t have to pay us a dime unless we win your case.

For details on the services we offer, or to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability benefits application, contact us online or reach out to our office in Murray, Utah, today.