Two wooden models of people in wheelchairs on either side of a jar of coins and four stacks of coins.

If you’re suffering from a disability that leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a federal program that offers financial support to disabled workers who can no longer perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

When considering applying for SSDI, it’s important to know that the sooner you file an application the sooner you will receive benefits. In most cases, it takes about 3-6 months to receive a disability claim determination. If you need to appeal the decision, the process can take up to a year or longer.

For the majority of approved SSDI claims, there is a 5 month waiting period before you can receive benefits. This means SSDI benefits are paid in the 6th full month following the date that your disability began. It should be noted there is no waiting period for claimants suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

By the time you do receive approval for SSDI benefits, you may also be eligible for SSDI back pay. Back pay is awarded for the time from when you initially filed your application to when your benefits were granted, minus the mandatory 5 month waiting period. This form of back pay is typically what SSDI beneficiaries receive.

SSDI Back Pay vs Retroactive Pay

Retroactive SSDI benefits are a form of back pay. They cover the period between when the Social Security Administration (SSA) determined you to be eligible for SSDI and your application filing date. The date you are considered eligible to receive disability benefits is known as your disability Established Onset Date (EOD).

How Far Back Does SSDI Back Pay Go?

Your disability back pay maximum depends on the form of back pay you’re receiving. If your application date was the same as your EOD, you may be eligible to receive back pay for any delay in the SSA’s claim approval process.

For example, if the SSA approves your claim 8 months after your application date, you may receive up to 3 months’ worth of SSDI back pay. Back pay does not cover the mandatory 5 month waiting period. Therefore, 5 months is subtracted from the 8 months you waited to receive benefits.

Retroactive Social Security Disability benefits are slightly different from traditional back pay. Retroactive payments are capped at 12 months, starting from your confirmed disability EOD and up to the date you filed for SSDI.

The 5 month waiting period still applies in this situation. Therefore, to obtain the complete 12 months’ worth of retroactive payments, your EOD needs to be at least 17 months before your application date. This includes 12 months of eligible payments and the 5 month waiting period.

Reach Out to Our SSDI Attorney in Alameda, CA

If you’re wondering how much back pay for SSDI you may be entitled to, contact our legal team today. An experienced Social Security lawyer in Alameda, CA can help assess what additional benefits you may be eligible for.


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