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If I am approved, how much Social Security Disability back pay will I get?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  1,067 Comments

Learn to count the months of Social Security Disability back pay you can receive and to figure your potential back pay.

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Watch the Video: “If I am approved, how much Social Security Disability back pay will I get?”

Maximim Number of Back-Pay Months Before Application

If you are approved, you can receive up to twelve months of Social Security Disability back pay for months prior to your date of application.

Counting Social Security Disability Back-Pay Months

When you are trying to figure how many months of back pay you will receive, count up the number of full calendar months between when your disability began and when you expect your first check. Then subtract five months. You have to subtract five months because Social Security does not pay the first five full calendar months of disability. Another thing to keep in mind is that Social Security pays for the prior month, not for the month in which you receive the payment. For example, if you expect to receive your back pay in April, it will include benefits only through March.

Secrets to Counting Back-Pay Months

Here are a couple more tips for counting months of back pay. The first is to remember that only full calendar months count; so if you became disabled in the middle of the month, your month of disability does not count as one of the five unpaid months. The second tip is an exception to the first rule. If you become disabled on the first or second day of a calendar month, Social Security will count the month you became disabled as month number one of the five-month unpaid waiting period. This means that, when you are counting up months of disability prior to your application, you can include the month you became disabled in the count.

Calculating the Amount of Social Security Disability Back Pay

The total amount of your Social Security back pay is the number of full calendar months between when you became disabled and the month in which you expect to receive your first check, minus five months, multiplied times the amount of your expected monthly Social Security disability payment. Remember to count your month of disability if you became disabled on the first or second day of the month.

If there has been a cost-of-living increase during your back pay period, the actual total of your Social Security Disability back pay will be a little less than estimated because not all months will be paid at the current rate. For additional information about cost-of-living increases, see our article “Will I Get Cost-of-Living Increases in My Social Security Benefit Check?”

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1,067 Comments

  1. Steve A says:

    Kay,
    I have received my back pay from SSI and SSD.
    10 months worth.
    the first 5 months SSD does not pay, so only SSI paid me.
    the second 5 months, I received the full amount from BOTH.
    $703 per month SSI, $797 per month SSD.
    If SSD should have deducted the 703 SSI paid me, they did not.
    Trust me, i have talked to many SSA workers..lol.
    Did they law change this year maybe?
    OR was I overpaid, and how do they handle the overpayment?

    Thanks,
    Steve A

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      Before you can refund the apparent overpayment, Social Security has to calculate the overpayment, if you are overpaid. While you are trying to figure things out, don’t spend both of the benefits paid; keep it in case you do eventually have to refund.

      Here is some general information that may be of some help: Your Social Security back pay is supposed to be reduced by SSI back benefits paid for the same period. If your ongoing Social Security benefit will be $1,500, then the offset has occurred and you are not overpaid Social Security because you did not get the full $1,500. On the other hand, if your ongoing SSD benefit after SSI stops will be $797 and the back pay was paid after SSI had been paid for the same months, then there is a Social Security overpayment of $703 for each month of overlap because the offset didn’t occur. Another possibility is that the SSD was properly reduced and the benefits started with a lump sum back payment in the right amount; and because it was received all in one month, the SSD back pay counted only in the month it was paid. If that is the case, only SSI benefits paid in the month of the lump sum would be overpaid because for SSI income counts when it is received.

      If the information I have provided above does not help you sort things out, I suggest that you gather the letters and take them to Social Security and ask that the information in the letters be compared to your Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) to be sure the months of Social Security paid per the letter match the payment dates and amounts on the MBR and that the SSI letter matches the SSI computer record of payment. Either the representative will be able to show you that you are not overpaid and why or the rep will recognize the overpayment and either notify the payment center to calculate the SSD overpayment and issue a letter or have the local office correct the SSI record so an SSI overpayment is calculated.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  2. Denis says:

    Hi, i been receiving SSI for many years, while my wife hasnt, but 2 years ago she signed up, and just now got approval, she should get 550 per month for the 2 years of her application to approval (i thought) but they are saying she will get 360$ per month (back pay) since i was getting the 733$ instead of the 550, so they are taking what i was over payed from my wifes owed back pay? now i owe her instead of them? it said on the letter she could dispute the amount owed? what if she does? thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Denis,

      It is correct that your benefit is recalculated and reduced for all months in the past that your wife is not eligible and that she be paid the difference between the couple rate and the amount you were paid. The figures that you have been given are based on the 2014 couple rate of $1,082. The 2015 and 2016 rate is $1,100 ($550 each) and will be paid for those years.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jay brown says:

        Hello Kay

        I was diagnosed with stage 4 RCC in January and I was told to apply for disability which I was granted and told about the 5 month waiting period before the payments starts but also was told I could get SSI payments of $488 per month til the disability starts. July was my 1st disability payment and I was wondering should I be waiting for the back pay of 5 months for disability or not? I’ve talked to 3 different people at the ssi office and was told 3 different things.

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jay,

          Your SSI should begin to accrue the month after you applied unless you applied on the first of the month in which case it would begin with the month of application. The back pay should be paid to you within a month of getting your first SSI monthly benefit, so I suggest that you follow up to the local office.

          You are receiving a reduced SSI amount apparently because you are receiving free housing and/or food (food from a source other than SNAP [food stamps]). Once you have income, if your Social Security has not started and if you pay your share of those costs, your SSI can be increased until your Social Security begins.Your share is the total expenses divided by the number of people in the household. Shelter expenses are shelter utilities (power, heat, water/sewer, and garbage) and rent or mortgage, property tax and, if required by the lender, property insurance.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jay brown says:

            Hello Kay

            Thanks for responding but i don’t receive any other assistance. I got diagnosed mid January and that’s when I was told to apply for disability which I was approved quickly due to my illness but they told me I would have to wait 5 months before the 1st payment. They said I could get supplementary income until then so I’m asking if I should still expect back pay for the disability?

            Thanks

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Jay,

            There may be some Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay due back to the month after you filed your application or the month of application if you applied on the first. There will be no Social Security back pay if you have not yet completed the five-month unpaid waiting period.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  3. Brandon Gatdula says:

    All of this is new to me. I’m 44 years old and was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer on April 22, 2016 and began a very aggressive radiation/chemotherapy treatment immediately. I have not worked since. My cancer is very advanced and has metastasized from the colon to the lymph nodes, liver and lungs. Luckily I had about 5 months of vacation/sick saved up and I have been receiving that to live off of. I made pretty good money, so my vac/sick leave amount to $3600 a month. I have a family of 5. In September my accumulated sick/vac will run out. Do I have to wait until I’m not being paid hourly, or do I have to wait until I am receiving no income (sick/vacation pay) to apply for SSDI? Someone also mentioned that when I apply it will not take long because I will fall under “TERI” which is an application for disability considered terminal illness.
    Thank you for reading my post. Any information you can provide would be appreciated
    Thank you,
    Brandon

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brandon,

      Apply right away so that you have as little time as possible without income. Claim the date you ceased work and provide pay stubs or a statement from your employer that all pay since the date you stopped work has been accrued leave pay. I suggest to move the claim along that after you complete the basic SSA-16 disability application online, you also print, complete, and carry to the Social Security office the SSA- 3368 and SSA-3369, which are medical and vocational statements, rather than waiting for SSA to ask for them. Also, complete the authorization for release of information SSA-827.You can obtain these forms at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf and https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3369.pdf and https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-827.pdf. If your condition is terminal within less than a year, you may get a quick “compassionate allowance” approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Brandon Gatdula says:

        Thank you so much for the information that you provided. You helped out a great deal.
        I appreciate it

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Brandon.

          • Brandon Gatduls says:

            Kay, I’ve printed everything out and will be very prepared when I go to the SS office. Thank you so much. Do you mind if I ask how you know all of this? You are an amazing help!

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Brandon. (I have some professional background in Social Security and private disability insurance.)

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Jearold Williams says:

            Hello I am really in need of some assistance. I had a hearing in December 2015. Before and after the hearing I complied by going to 3 different doctors, to evaluate my slipped disc in my back and metal plate and screws in my ankle assigned to me by SSA. As of this point I have not received an approval or denial letter from SSA nor my attorney. How long does this process take, I have have minimal income as i waiting on response. What can i do to see if this can move along faster..?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Jearold,

            The guideline is for you to have received a decision within sixty days of the last exam. Although that is an unenforceable guideline, if it has been more than three months since the last exam, I suggest that you call the hearing office for a status. If a decision has not been made so that you appeal is now in letter writing, ask whether each of the exam reports has been received. Then, I suggest that you call your attorney to inquire whether any productive action is possible especially if it has been five or six months since the last exam.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Brandon Gatdula says:

            Kay, I have one more question for you. My employer said that they would keep me “employed” as long as I want to maintain my medical insurance. I have great
            coverage through work. Of course I will have to pay my share of the
            deductible. Will I be able to receive SSDI and still remain “employed” by my current employer? I won’t actually be working any hours or receiving a paycheck, but they want to help me maintain the medical coverage without interruption. Is this allowed by SSDI? I would hate to apply for SSDI and lose the current medical plan that I’m on.
            Thank you for your time and information. It is much appreciated by my family and I.
            Brandon Gatdula

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Brandon,

            You do not have to terminate your employment to apply for Social Security Disability. Just answer the questionnaires with the last day you worked. If you are asked whether you are employed, say, yes, but haven’t worked since [the date].

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  4. Amanda C says:

    I have a question about backpay, I applied for SSI/SSDI last year and was denied due to lack of medical proof, this year i have plenty of doc records to back me up and reapplied in June,they now have all the docs records,and i just had my appointment with their doctor this past week and according to them they have till 10/22/16 to make a decision. I was wondering what are my chances for backpay if approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amanda,

      If you are approved, your benefits will be paid based on your current application. If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), SSD benefits begin to accrue the later of twelve months before the month the month of application or the sixth full calendar month of disability as established by Social Security. If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your SSI benefits will begin the month following the month of application unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits begin with the month of application. SSD back pay will be reduced by any SSI back benefits paid for the same period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Shawanda Jones says:

        Hello I have a question. My son have been approve for ssi due to he could have autism. But he want no til he go get tested Monday. He received back pay..was that a one lump sum.or he will received another back pay later on. Down the line.

  5. Cait says:

    My son was born with congenital conditions at birth which allowed him to be approved for disability in 2007 however he stopped recieving payments of $90/month in 2009 then we were awarded backpay for him. Up till this month he was currently recieving Regular SSI monthly checks and had backpay from a baby. They have now said he is no longer disabled. And they are asking for almost $1200.00 back which I cannot pay them by the end of this month. Can his back pay be used to settle this I can’t find a clear answer. I am still looking for a job and while my husband is working we are struggling to pay the rent right now.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cait,

      If you agree that you son is no longer disabled, you can us your son’s back pay savings to repay the overpayment because, it is your son’s benefits that were incorrectly paid. If you disagree with the medical determination that your son is no longer disabled, you can appeal that medical decision and as part of the appeal the fact of the overpayment. If he has not recovered from his disability, he is not overpaid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. gary says:

    i have been turned down twice for disability, my lawer has sent all paper-work in to another judge it is going on 4 month’s should i be worried that’s it is taking so long…thank=you .

  7. gene says:

    Kay I am wondering when the medicare costs will be withheld from my months of back pay.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gene,

      If you are eligible for Medicare in past months, the premiums will be withheld when the back benefits are issued. You can then submit medical bills for those months to get payment by Medicare.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  8. Tiffany Haessly says:

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2010 and began fighting for disabilty benefits then, it is now 2016 and I have additional medical conditions added to my case, it is in the appeal stages and I am waiting for the determination. If I am awarded my disability in December of 2016, how far back will they pay me for back-pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tiffany,

      Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) will be paid based on the date of disability onset that Social Security determines and the date of the initial application that is now under appeal. Benefits begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or twelve months before your current initial application. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits begin the month after the month of application unless you applied on the first in which case benefits begin the month of application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  9. Marie says:

    Kay
    When my ex husband applied for disability we had 3 min or children…it has taken him 3 years to be approved and now we only have 1 minor child…does my other 2 get back pay since they are no longer minors and doesn’t live with me? If so do they get the back pay or do I?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marie,

      The two older children will likely receive the back pay directly because they are no longer minors. When you complete the application for the youngest child, give Social Security your children’s addresses and phone numbers so they can claim their benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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