Am I eligible for Disability Back Pay?


Social Security considers 3 factors when assessing back pay:

  1. What date did you file your disability application? Social Security allows for retroactive payment for 12 months prior to the application date. One could receive benefits for some time prior to the filing date, or get benefits for the full 12 months of benefits if unable to work for 17 months or longer (there is a 5 month waiting period during which back pay cannot be accrued)
  2. What is the date of onset (what date did you become unable to work at a substantial level [$1170/month] due to mental/physical impairment?) Your backpay begins to accrue 5 months after the date of onset.
  3. Have you calculated the 5-month waiting period? This waiting period starts on the established onset date. A person begins to accrue disability benefits starting five months after the established date of onset. Nevertheless, this typically doesn’t ultimately factor in, due to the fact that disability claims typically take more than 5 months, thus negating the 5-month waiting period.

Also note: Significant backlogs exist for getting a disability hearing. This can often extend the amount of backpay one receives. If one is entitled to disability benefits for 12 months, and it takes another year to get a disability hearing, then they could receive 2 years of backpay.