If you have not yet received approval for your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is difficult to know when you may gain approval and get your back pay. This is especially true if you are in the process of appealing a denial. This process can last several months or drag on for a year or more. Once you begin getting monthly deposits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), your back pay should come automatically within a few months.
Ensuring you get the SSD benefits you deserve is not as easy as it seems. If you received a denial, a skilled Disability lawyer can help you navigate the appeals process. At Berger and Green, we can file your request for reconsideration and represent you in front of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at your hearing, which can take place by phone, video conference, or in person.
We will fight for your benefits and help you get the income and back pay you deserve. We’re ready to help you learn more about your rights.
What Is SSD Back Pay?
Back pay is the benefits you qualified for but were not paid while the SSA took their time considering your application. Usually, back pay stems from an applicant having to file an appeal after receiving a letter of denial. While we fight for your monthly benefits, the pay you qualify for but have not yet been approved to receive accumulates. This is back pay.
The appeals process is time-consuming, and it takes several months to navigate each step. You may have to wait years for your claim to finally receive approval, although your disability prevents you from working throughout this time. This can be an extremely stressful time. Having a Disability attorney on your side may help you keep fighting for the benefits you deserve.
A legal representative can ensure that your rights are protected and that you are kept informed about what is happening with your claim. The appeals process can seem like a waiting game. It can take over a year and include a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If this is not successful, we will review whether additional appeals would be beneficial in your case.
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How Will I Receive My Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Back Pay?
SSDI back pay comes as a lump sum payment. The SSA issues this payment separately from your regular monthly deposit.
How Long Before I Get My Back Pay?
While this one-time deposit does not occur immediately after you receive approval, the processing time is fairly quick. It may take a few months after your first regular benefits check to see this large deposit. If it takes more time, we follow up with Social Security for our clients to pinpoint what may be causing the delay.
Can I Get Retroactive Benefits?
Some people may qualify for additional back pay based on when their disability first occurred and when they applied for benefits. Known as retroactive benefits, this type of back pay covers a maximum of one year before you filed for SSDI.
For example, imagine you suffered a back injury that left you unable to work last March, but you did not file for SSDI until December. Once you receive approval, you may also qualify for retroactive benefits to cover the months between September and December.
How Does the SSDI Waiting Period Affect My Back Pay?
There is a five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits, meaning even if you receive approval the month after you apply, you will not be eligible to receive benefits until five months after the date your disability first occurred. If you have to file an appeal or qualify for retroactive benefits, this may not prevent you from receiving monthly benefits as soon as you gain approval. It will, however, reduce your retroactive or back pay by five months’ worth of payments.
For example, earlier, we mentioned a situation where your debilitating injury occurred in March, but you did not apply for benefits until December. In this case, your retroactive back pay would cover only September through December. The first five months of the period would count as your waiting period.
How Will I Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Back Pay?
There is no waiting period for SSI, so your benefits begin the month after your claim gains initial approval or you win your appeal. Your back pay will cover the months between your application date and the date you received approval.
How Long Will It Take To Get My SSI Back Pay?
The SSA pays SSI back pay as three installments instead of as a lump sum like SSDI. Within a few months of receiving your first SSI monthly benefit, you should receive one-third of your back pay. A second payment follows six months later, and the final payment occurs after another six months.
Can I Qualify for Retroactive Benefits?
There are no retroactive benefits available for SSI. Imagine you applied for SSI in June, but your claim was denied. After a successful appeals process, you received approval in January. Your back pay will cover the months between July and January. If you receive your first back pay deposit in April, you will receive a second installment in October and the final payment the following April.
What Types of Benefits Can I Get Back Pay For?
The Social Security Administration offers two distinct types of benefits. Back pay can be applied to either of them so long as you meet the other criteria (i.e., you qualify for that benefit and the SSA took additional time to decide your case).
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for those who spent a certain number of years paying into Social Security as a condition of their job and are now unable to work due to a disability.
Supplemental Security Income
Unlike SSDI, there is no work requirement to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Rather, your ability to receive SSI depends entirely on your financial situation. If you have a disability and very limited resources, you could qualify.
What Counts as a Disability?
It may sound obvious to say that you must have a disability to qualify for Social Security Disability. However, determining what is and is not a disability can be complicated. The SSA has its own rules regarding what counts as a disability, and applicants must prove they meet that definition to receive benefits.
For SSA purposes, a condition only counts as disabling if it meets the following criteria.
- It is included on the SSA’s list of disabilities. This list includes both physical and mental conditions.
- It is expected to last for at least a year and/or to be terminal.
- It prevents you from performing your old job duties.
- It prevents you from acquiring and retaining any job at all.
What Counts as Low Income?
A second component of qualifying for Disability is proving to the SSA that you are unable to make enough money to survive or support your family. The maximum amount you can earn and still qualify for benefits is adjusted each year. The amounts included below are accurate for 2022.
Social Security Disability Insurance applicants can earn up to $1,350 a month and still receive benefits.
Supplemental Security Income applicants can have up to $2,000 in total assets (including income) and still receive benefits.
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How Can a Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me Get the Benefits I Deserve?
Navigating the process to secure the Disability payments you deserve is not easy, especially when you receive an initial denial of benefits. At Berger and Green, we can guide you through the appeals process and help you understand how much back pay you can expect once you gain approval.
We have helped thousands of people with injuries and disabilities seek their benefits during our 40 years of service. The application process can be challenging to follow, but when you put your case in our hands, we aim to make it as easy for you as possible.
How We Handle Your Benefits Case
We review your initial application as well as why the SSA rejected your claim. We also:
- Look for medical evidence that can be added to your application so you can support your claim for benefits and improve your application’s chances of meeting SSA requirements
- Look for technicalities that led to your application being denied and advise you on how to make adjustments
- Take care of filing documents needed to request a reconsideration or hearing
- Appeal your case further if we think it may be helpful to do so
- Represent you at all necessary reconsiderations, hearings, and other meetings
- Determine if you qualify to receive back pay or retroactive benefits, and apply for that money on your behalf as applicable
- Offer updates about your case and answers about the legal process as a whole
We know this may seem like a lot of work, especially if you are still trying to adjust to life with a disability. Berger and Green does not want you to suffer under any legal burden. We make it easier for clients to pursue whatever benefits they are entitled to receive.
We Can Help You Right From the Start
You do not have to wait for a denial to take advantage of our legal services. Our team can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Get in Touch With Us About Your Back Pay Claim
Call us today to schedule a time to talk with a Pittsburgh Social Security Disability attorney. The consultation is free, and we will answer any questions you may have.
We encourage you not to let concerns about fees stop you from reaching out to us for guidance. We do not charge for our services unless your claim is approved. We can also explain how the government regulates the fees that we are paid to handle your claim during your consultation.