Getting approval for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can take many months. The SSI program, managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), provides cash benefits to people with disabilities who need income assistance.
You might be entitled to back pay for those months you waited for approval. Learning how SSI back pay is calculated can help you determine how much you might receive.
What is Back Pay?
Back pay is the benefits you could have received from the Social Security Administration (SSA) between the time when you applied and when your claim received approval. Depending on how long it took the SSA to approve your claim, your back pay might not amount to much.
If we have to go through the appeals process before you receive approval for your benefits, however, the missed payments can add up quickly. Each step in the appeals process can take several months, and your back pay accumulates while you wait for the SSA’s decision.
SSI and Backpay
SSI does not award retroactive payments. This means you cannot recover compensation for the months you were disabled before you applied for benefits.
If you applied and were approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, however, you can recover both retroactive benefits and back pay. If you believe you may qualify for SSDI, give us a call today, and we can discuss your claim with you.
How does SSA Calculate SSI Back Pay?
To determine the amount of back pay you are entitled to, the SSA considers various factors, including:
- When you applied for benefits
- When the SSA approves your claim
The calculation is rather simple. The SSA takes the months between your application date and your approval date and multiples it by your monthly payment. If you receive the maximum payment of $735, and it took the SSA eight months to approve your claim, you would be entitled to $5,880 in back pay.
Why is Back Pay So Important?
Getting approval for the Social Security benefits you deserve is not always an easy process. Unless you are over age 65 and qualify solely based upon your age, proving you qualify for SSI can be a difficult task.
You need to show you:
- Meet the strict qualifications for being blind or disabled outlined in the SSA’s “Blue Book” of impairment listings; or
- Are unable to work due to your disability; and
- Have few assets and limited income.
The SSA determines what kinds of income can count against an applicant’s SSI benefits claim. Assets, which the SSA calls resources, can be:
- Bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds
- Property (land)
- Personal property
- Life insurance
Per the SSA, not all resources will count toward SSI benefits. However, the value of a person’s resources is among the factors that can determine a person’s eligibility for SSI benefits. If you have questions about any assets you have and how that could affect your eligibility, we can review them with you during our free review of your case.
Seeking Help with Your Case
When you try to prove your qualifications on your own, knowing how much information is necessary and the best documentation to submit can be difficult. If you have an SSI lawyer or someone else familiar with the application and approval process look at your application, you can improve your chances of approval.
Still, it is common for well-qualified applicants to receive a denial of their initial SSI claim. Some of our clients come to us about their disability benefits claim after they receive a letter of denial. When this happens, we immediately begin taking our clients through the disability appeals process to get them the benefits they deserve.
Of course, this appeals process takes time. This means it could be months where you have no income whatsoever.
Why do I Need Help from a Pittsburgh SSI Attorney?
While you can receive back benefits for the time it took the SSA to approve your benefits, the wait to get a hearing after you are denied can cause financial hardship.
It is your right to appoint a representative, such as a lawyer, who can help you manage your communications with the SSA. You also should notify the SSA in writing when you choose a representative.
When you enlist our help, we will work to get your benefits claim approved the first time. This will give you all the benefits you need, sooner than if you needed to wait months to get your back pay.
We also work with you on a contingency basis, which means you do not need to worry about how you are going to pay us. You pay us no money upfront. We simply take our fee, strictly regulated by the U.S. government, out of the back pay you receive.
When will I Receive My Back Pay?
Your benefits should begin the next month after you receive approval. This means any back pay due to you should cover every month beginning with the first full month after your application date.
The SSI awards back payments in installments. You will receive a third of the back pay due to you soon after approval, one six months later, and the final payment after another six months.
Note: If the SSA deems you “presumptively disabled,” you can begin receiving benefits before the SSA approves your application.
Berger and Green: Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Attorneys
If you need help navigating the SSI or SSDI claims or appeals process in Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, Berger and Green is here to help.
Call us today to discuss your claim with one of our team members for free. When you meet with us, we can answer any questions you have about SSA benefits and explain how the claims process works.