Am I Entitled to Social Security Disability Back Pay?
Tulsa Disability Lawyer Explains Retroactive Benefits
The approval process for Social Security disability benefits is usually a long one. Lots of people apply for benefits every day, and it takes time to process each application. In addition, over half of all first-time applicants are initially rejected. While many people successfully appeal disability rejections, going through this process means you will have to wait even longer for benefits.
As a result, months or sometimes years may pass between the time you submit your application and the time when the Social Security Administration (SSA) actually approves it and starts your monthly payments. Due to this often lengthy waiting period, most people are entitled to Social Security disability back pay. This back pay usually covers the months since your application date, but it may cover even more time, depending on when your disability began.
The disability claims process is complicated. Sometimes you may not receive as much back pay as you thought you would. An experienced Tulsa disability lawyer from Troutman & Troutman, P.C. can help you determine the appropriate amount of back pay due to you. We can also help ensure that you have all the necessary documents required to prove when your injury or disability began so that you get all the benefits you deserve.
How Much Social Security Disability Back Pay Will I Get?
The amount of back pay you will receive depends on a variety of factors as well as whether you applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI benefits are need-based, so most applicants can simply get back pay to cover the time since their application date. Often, the SSA divides your SSI back pay into three payments spaced six months apart.
SSDI benefits are more complicated because they are based on your reported earnings and, in some cases, benefits begin prior to the application date. Unlike SSI, you receive your SSDI back pay as a lump sum. The three factors that determine how much SSDI back pay you will receive are:
- Date of Disability. You can get back pay for up to a year before your application date if your disability started before you applied. This is known as retroactive pay. Two dates are important to your retroactive pay:
- Alleged Onset Date (AOD). When you apply for SSDI, you must include the date when you believe your disability began. Generally, you must provide medical records or other evidence in support of this date.
- Established Onset Date (EOD). During the SSDI approval process, the disability examiner will review all of the information in your application as well as your medical records. Then, the examiner will rule on when your disability actually began. This date may or may not coincide with your AOD.
- Waiting Period. For SSDI, the SSA has a mandatory five-month waiting period before you can receive any benefits at all. This means that after your EOD is established, you do not receive benefits for a partial month and the first five full months.
What Happens if the Social Security Administration Disagrees with My Onset Date?
In total, you could receive Social Security disability back pay for up to a year before your application date. However, the amount you actually get depends on your EOD as well as the five-month waiting period. If the EOD does not agree with the AOD you submitted with your application, you may receive less back pay benefits than you expected.
You may appeal your EOD, but you could risk losing your disability benefits entirely. In some situations, it may make more sense to accept the established EOD. In others, you may be more likely to win an appeal. Some reasons that you may file an appeal include:
- SSA Errors. It is possible for disability examiners to make simple mistakes, like misreading the dates on your medical records. If an error like this results in an incorrect EOD, then an appeal is often a good idea.
- Additional medical evidence. If you or the examiner fails to request all of your medical records, the true onset date of your disability may be unclear. If it will make a substantial difference to your back pay, an appeal may make sense in this case.
An EOD appeal is often a risk, so it is always best to consult an attorney before you make a decision. A Tulsa disability lawyer from our law firm can review your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Questions about Back Pay? Contact a Tulsa Disability Attorney for a Free Consultation
At Troutman & Troutman, P.C., disability law is all be do. We can explain the complexities of the disability claims process and how to calculate your back pay entitlement. If you have questions about Social Security disability, we can help.
We always work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing until your case settles and you get approval for Social Security benefits. In addition, your lawyer gets only a percentage of your disability back pay; all future benefits are completely yours. Contact us online or call our Tulsa office to schedule a free consultation today.