If you suffer from a disabling injury or illness that prevents you from working, you might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, a substantial amount of time may pass while you cannot work and wait for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to approve your application and start your payments.
Fortunately, you can seek back payments from SSA. An SSD attorney can help you with your application for benefits or appeal of a denial and tell you everything you need to know about retroactive pay.
Who Can Recover Retroactive Pay?
SSA provides benefits through two distinct programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- SSDI recipients have paid into the Social Security trust fund via a dedicated income tax and qualify for benefits based on their earned work credits.
- SSI recipients qualify for benefits based on low income and needs. All beneficiaries must have a qualifying medical condition that prevents them from working for at least one year.
Both SSDI and SSI recipients can recover disability back pay. Your back pay covers the time between when you filed your initial application and SSA approves your benefits. This process can often take months, so back payments can be substantial.
Retroactive pay is different from back pay because it provides payments for the months between when you became disabled and applied for benefits. However, only SSDI recipients can recover retroactive pay. SSI recipients can only recover benefits from the application date forward. They cannot recoup payments from before they applied. An attorney with our firm can ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
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How Much Retroactive Pay Can You Receive?
You can recover up to 12 months of retroactive pay. However, SSA has a mandatory five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits. To calculate how many months of retroactive pay you may recover, you can use a formula utilizing the date your disability began (your “established onset date,” or EOD), your application approval date, and the five-month waiting period.
For example, say your EOD was June 1, 2021, and SSA approved your benefits 10 months later on May 1, 2022. Then, you would use the following formula:
- 10 (total months between your EOD and approval) – 5 (mandatory wait) = 5 months of retroactive payments.
Note that there is no mandatory waiting period for those receiving SSI. Instead, SSI payments begin the first full month after the SSA approves your application. All this may sound complex, but an attorney with our firm can tell you everything you need to know about retroactive benefits and help you recover the payments you’re owed.
How Much Are Regular Monthly Disability Payments?
The amount of your back payments and regular monthly benefit payments depends on which disability program you qualify for. According to SSA, SSI payments for 2022 are $841 per individual and $1,261 per couple. SSA establishes payment amounts based on the Consumer Price Index and yearly cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).
SSDI payments vary per person based on work credits and Social Security contributions. SSA reports that the average payment across all disabled workers was $1,234 in 2019.
Neither SSI nor SSDI beneficiaries can earn more than SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. The SGA for 2022 is $1,350 ($2,260 for the blind). If you earn more than this amount per month, you likely will not qualify for SSD benefits.
Our SSD Lawyers Can Help You Seek Benefits
Applying for SSD benefits can be complicated. The Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy reports that nearly 70 percent of initial applications get denied. However, we can review your application and make sure you submit the necessary documentation to SSA, including:
- Proof of your qualifying condition, such as medical records, lab tests, and doctors’ reports
- Evidence of your current income, including workers’ compensation and other benefits that may affect your SGA level
- Detailed work history, including W-2s, tax forms, and military service records
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
- Your up-to-date contact information
If SSA denied your benefits claim, our SSD lawyers could assist you with an appeal. You have 60 days to begin the appeals process starting from the date you received notice of SSA’s decision. Make sure you get started within the allotted time, or you may have to start over with a new application, causing additional stress and delays in your payments.
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Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Today
The SSD attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can explain everything you need to know about retroactive pay and seeking disability benefits. To learn more, contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.
We can help you secure the benefits you need for yourself and your family at no upfront cost to you. In addition, we work on contingency, meaning we only collect a fee if we win your case.