How is SSDI Back Pay Paid?

The Social Security Administration helps those suffering disability. SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is for people who have worked and who have developed a disability or condition that makes them unable to work. The good news is that since you paid into Social Security with your FICA contributions, you are entitled to this disability payment. The not-so-good news is that it can take a long time to receive any payments that will help you with medical costs and living expenses.

This is because the amount of time the Social Security Administration takes to process an application can be long. Many applicants go into debt waiting to be deemed eligible.

If your claim is successful, you will be owed back pay for that time between the date you filed for Social Security and the date your application was approved. Back pay is determined by the date that your disability began.

How is SSDI Back Pay Paid?

How Back Pay is Deposited

After 2011, the Social Security Administration required all recipients of SSDI benefits to receive their monthly disability payments by direct deposit online. This means that to receive any back pay, you will need to have a bank account for these deposits to be made into.

Usually applicants will receive their first installment of SSDI back pay 60 days after being approved for disability. After being approved, if you were disabled long before you even applied for disability, you may be eligible to receive retroactive SSDI payments for up to one year.

Back Pay VS Retroactive Payments

Don’t confuse back payments with retroactive payments. Back payments are owed to you up to the time that you applied for benefits. Retroactive payments are given for up to 12 months before you applied for benefits if you can prove that you were already disabled during that time.

For Social Security disability applicants, there is a mandatory 5 month waiting period after you have been approved. This means that once you’ve been approved, Social Security will not be making payments to you until 5 months have passed. This is usually evened out since most Social Security disability beneficiaries will not get their application approved until well after those first 5 months. But you will start receiving, or be owed, benefits on the 6th month once you have been approved.

You can receive your back pay up to 60 days after your application is approved and the SSA decides if you qualify for disability benefits. This is typically paid as one lump-sum and will be directly deposited online into your bank account.

If you were disabled long before you decided to apply, you can hire an attorney to help you challenge your established onset date, or EOD. Your EOD is the date the Social Security administration thinks you became disabled, and is the date on which you applied for benefits.

A Social Security disability advocate or attorney can help you challenge this date so that the onset date will show when you actually became disabled, rather than simply the date you applied. Keep in mind that Social Security will only go back 12 months regarding retroactive benefits.