Disabled employees and certain family members may be able to collect benefits through a program known as Social Security Disability (SSD). Those receiving this have probably paid into the system for a number of years through their employment taxes. Disabilities, for the most part, are permanent or expected to last for a year or more. The initial application process typically takes around 5 months, but if you are denied, the process can take much longer.
You may be eligible to receive retroactive payments of SSD if you are applying significantly after your disability started. Retroactive payments are payments for the time period after becoming disabled and before applying for Social Security Disability benefits. SSD applicants are eligible to receive this and not SSI applicants. Applicants for retroactive SSD benefits must prove that they were disabled at least five months before they applied for SSD. This is due to the five-month waiting period for SSD benefits. When you apply for these benefits, a judge will look at your medical and employment records. He or she will then estimate an established onset date of disability. This date will determine whether or not you are eligible for retroactive payments.
You can earn up to 12 months of retroactive payments. The 12 months only begin after your 5 month waiting period is subtracted. So to receive your full year of retroactive payments, you must have applied for disability benefits 17 months or longer after the onset of your disability.
Even though it is possible to apply for SSD benefits independently, it is better to apply with an SSD attorney. The reasons are many; any questions that may be asked at a hearing will probably be prepared for. There will be a higher probability of winning the case overall. Any witnesses or medical evidence will be secured easier. But the most important difference is that a client will have the best chances of understanding the procedure of applying and having questions and concerns addressed.