Social Security and Back Pay

When you are injured and it leaves you disabled there is a serious adjustment process that takes months, not days or weeks, to sort out. Life doesn’t pick up neatly the next day and sometimes putting all the pieces back together takes a long time. Opportunities and resources may not come to mind or maybe you are too busy with physical therapy and family matters to attend to the necessary paperwork. Re-learning the basics is a chore, and swimming through bureaucratic red tape is at the bottom of the list.

The date of your injury, though, is relevant to Social Security Disability (SSD) claims whether you file them right away or years down the road. You can claim after the fact and back pay is an option, depending on the circumstances. If you are eligible for SSD, you may be eligible for back pay.

SSD offers two types of back pay, depending on your case.

Back pay

Because of the lag time in processing benefit requests, the Social Security office acknowledges the need for funds during the time spent waiting in queue. As such, payment is available from the date of application through the present, not just beginning upon approval.

Retroactive back pay

Retroactive back pay is available to select candidates (only SSD, not SSI recipients) and dates one year previous to your application date. There is a six-month waiting period, making it closer to an extra six months of back payment in practice.

Three primary factors influence eligibility.

  • Type of disability
  • Date of disability
  • Length of approval time by the Social Security office

Although you may not have filed for benefits immediately upon injury, Social Security allows for application delays and will pay backwards (to a point) to counter your delay. So, whether you were just disabled or if it happened years ago, the benefits are still yours.

The challenge comes in filing the right paperwork and visiting the right experts to expedite the process. Approximately two-thirds of applications are denied on first claim, which means a detailed and careful approach to your application is essential to begin collecting payment as soon as possible.