How Does SSDI Back Pay Work?

How does SSDI back pay work? There may come a time when you are not able to work because of a condition that prevents you from doing so. If that is the case, you may qualify for financial assistance from the Social Security Administration. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is accessible to you if you were once able to be employed in the past but now cannot work for a minimum of one year.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance disburses benefits to you or family members who paid Social Security taxes through work earnings and worked long enough, and recently enough. It’s required that you have gained enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI. You are also required to have paid into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, known as FICA, during the time you were working. The amount of work credits needed to be eligible are dependent upon age. For instance, if you are 50 years old, you will need 28 work credits meanwhile another person who is 40 years old will need 20 work credits. These benefits are paid if there is a medical condition that is anticipated to persist for at least a year. Once you are approved, the monthly payments can be used for your essential living needs such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and medical expenses.

What Back Pay Is

When you are owed back pay, it refers to the SSDI you would have acquired if your claim was approved promptly. Most claims for SSDI are denied at least once and involves a tedious process that can last for months, or even years. Once you are approved, you will obtain the SSDI benefits that you are entitled to. You will start receiving back pay for disability that goes back to the date of the disability onset. Due to a mandatory five-month waiting period, once you have been approved, you will not receive any payments until the five months have elapsed.

How You Will Receive Your Back Pay

All beneficiaries of SSDI benefits must have their payments directly deposited into their bank accounts. In order to obtain back pay, you must make sure that you have a bank account for the payments to be deposited to. If you were disabled for an extended period of time before you applied for disability, you may qualify for retroactive Social Security Disability payments for a timeframe of one year.

Retroactive Payments vs. Back Pay

It’s important to understand that back pay is different from retroactive payments. Retroactive payments are paid out for up to the preceding 12 months prior to applying for SSDI benefits if you can demonstrate that you had a disabling condition throughout that time. Back payments are paid out to you up until the date you filed a claim to receive benefits.

How the Social Security Administration Determines Back Pay

The determination of back pay is associated with the date your disability claim was filed as well as the date the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the established onset date. The distribution of the back pay is dependent on your approval for SSDI benefits. In some cases, you may have a long waiting period if your case needs to be determined by an administrative judge.

What Back Pay May Be Spent On

You may be receiving a lump sum payment that could add up to a substantial amount. You may have been in a financially tight situation while waiting for the Social Security Administration to approve your claim. It’s recommended that you utilize the back pay for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and health care. It’s also wise to pay off your bills. If you have extra money left over, you probably shouldn’t rush to go on a shopping spree. You may want to consider establishing a bank account that draws interest. Additionally, you may want to deposit the funds into an account in which you have easy access to just in case there is an unexpected emergency such as home repairs, car repairs, or a medical emergency.

Qualifying for SSDI

You may be eligible for SSDI if you are no longer able to work due to a medical condition. In order to be eligible, you need to medically qualify based on the guidelines set out by the Social Security Administration. There is a blue book that has categories for various systems of the body. For each system, there is a listing for the conditions the particular body system has that are debilitating. You will discover the types of medical benchmarks that are required to medically qualify for benefits. This includes treatments, test results, and other medical criteria. You can work together with your doctor to arrange any tests that are required to qualify.

For instance, if you have cancer, you must meet the benchmarks for a cancer listing. The listings for disability are separated based on where the cancer stems from. Each cancer has its set of criteria that are required to be met.

Understand the Difference Between SSDI and SSI

Many people get the terms SSDI and SSI mixed up. SSI is a disability program that is needs-based. Even though you still need to show medical documentation in order to medically qualify, you are also required to meet certain income criteria which include evidence of household income and the amount of people living in the household. Additionally, you are required to provide documentation of all assets such as stocks and bonds, cash, real estate, and bank accounts. There are resource limits that are maxed out at $2,000 per person and $3,000 when it’s a couple.

The Application Process

It’s recommended that you review the Adult Disability Checklist to round up the information and documents that are needed to properly complete the application. After you have gathered the needed items on the checklist, you will complete and submit the application. The application will be reviewed to ensure that you meet a few basic requirements for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration will analyze whether you put in enough years of work to qualify and evaluate any ongoing work-related activities. Your application will be processed and your case will be sent to your state’s Disability Determination Services office.

What Happens After You Apply?

After the Social Security Administration has received your application, the appropriate department will review it and contact you if there are any questions or if there are additional documents needed to process the application. You should be on the look-out for a letter that will be mailed out with their decision. If there were other family members included in the application, the Social Security Administration will notify you if they may be eligible to receive benefits.

If You Are Denied

There are plenty of reasons why claims could be denied. It’s not uncommon for disability claims to be denied upon an initial review. One of the most common reasons why claims are denied is due to inadequate medical evidence. You must demonstrate that you do not have the ability to work because of a disabling condition to qualify for disability benefits. A critical aspect in determining whether your claim is successful or not hinges upon medical records from your physicians. If your claim was denied from a previous application, you have an increased chance of being denied again without furnishing additional evidence. Additionally, your records will be under review to ensure that you are adhering to your physician’s recommended treatment plan. If you do not follow your physician’s recommended treatment plan, you could be denied for failure to cooperate. This is because the department that is reviewing your claim cannot correctly conclude if you are kept from working due to your condition.

Get Assistance from a Disability Attorney

Applying for Social Security Disability can be a daunting task with a long approval process and a high potential of being denied. If you have a disabling condition that has rendered you unable to work and you would like to apply for social security disability benefits, it’s wise to work with an experienced disability attorney. By working with an attorney who deals with these types of cases, you have an increased chance of your disability claim being approved. 

Connect with an Attorney