Slepian Smith, PLLC

What you should know about SSDI retroactive payments, back pay

It is an unfortunate fact that people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) can spend months and sometimes years waiting for a ruling on their applications. There is a massive backlog of applications, and many people ultimately must also navigate the appeal process.

While they wait, disabled workers may be dealing with enormous financial obligations. For instance, you may not be earning a paycheck, but you still have to pay rent, utility bills and grocery bills, not to mention your medical expenses. This typically creates severe financial strain. However, you should know that you may be eligible to collect payments for this period once your application is approved.

Retroactive payments

Retroactive payments are benefits for months you were disabled before you were approved for SSDI. People don't always apply for SSDI as soon as they are able to. For one reason or another, they might wait several months before actually submitting an application.

The Social Security Administration specifies that retroactive benefits may be available for as long as 12 months before a person files an application for disability benefits.

Back payments

Back payments refer to disability benefits that you would have collected while you were waiting for an answer on your application. For instance, if the SSA approves your application in August, but you have been eligible for benefits since March, then you can receive six months of back payments.

Making sure you receive the benefits you deserve

Retroactive and back payments may not come in the time you need them, but they are still critical so it is important to understand what they are.

Disability takes a considerable toll on workers and their families, physically, emotionally and financially. To ensure that you receive the care you need, you should discuss with an attorney how to maximize your benefits. Without legal guidance, you could overlook critical support you deserve. 

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