Past Due Social Security Disability Benefits
Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can sometimes be a long, complex process, with a goal of receiving a monthly check for a disability that has curtailed your ability to work. Aside from these monthly disability benefit checks, many applicants will also get a significantly larger first check representing past-due benefits. You may wonder how you can determine how much the check for your past-due benefits will be. You can figure this amount; if not precisely, you can at least come close. The first thing to consider is your date of application.
You may be considered eligible for benefits from the date of your initial SSD application or, in some cases, one year prior to your date of application (known as the retroactive period). If you were to be approved for benefits fairly quickly, but you qualify for the one-year retroactive period, then you could be entitled to that year of benefits plus the amount of time it took for your application to be approved—minus five months.
The Social Security Administration will determine a date on which you became eligible for disability benefits, which can also impact the total amount of past-due Social Security benefits. This is known as your Date of Onset; you will be deemed eligible for disability benefits starting five months after your Date of Onset.
So, if SSA determines your Date of Onset was eleven months prior to your application date, then you would subtract five months from that, and you would have your starting month. Keep in mind there is a one-year limit on past-due benefits. This means that even if SSA determines you became disabled ten years ago, you would still only be entitled to go back one year. Remember to take into account the time it took for approval.
As an example: Assume SSA determines you became disabled on July 1, 2019. You apply for Social Security Disability benefits on July 1, 2020. It takes four months to receive a favorable decision, taking you to November 1, 2020. If you subtract five months from the sixteen months’ total, you are entitled to 11 months of back SSD pay. If you had to go through the appeals process and were not awarded benefits for two years after your initial application, you would be entitled to two years and seven months’ worth of back SSD pay.
So, like a mathematical formula, your past-due Social Security Disability Benefits will equal your monthly benefit amount times the number of months you were entitled to receive SSD benefits prior to the actual approval decision (Monthly benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings prior to when your disability began, usually between $800 and $1,800, with an average of $1,258 per month). If your monthly benefit will be $1,000, and you are entitled to eleven months of back pay, then you would receive a lump-sum payment of $11,000, minus any potential deductions, which could include:
- If you were receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you could see a reduction in the monthly benefit amount, which would also reduce the amount of past-due benefits.
- If you had legal representation, SSA usually holds out an attorney’s fee equal to 25 percent of the past-due benefits, up to $6,000.
- If you received state or local cash assistance during the period when you were waiting for a decision, you could be required to repay those agencies.
If you have additional questions regarding how your past-due Social Security Disability benefits will be determined, contact Carmichael Law Group today!