How Does Social Security Calculate and Award My Back Payments for SSD or SSI?

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Many people understand that if they get sick, injured, or develop a serious disability that the government has developed and enacted programs that can provide benefits and support for those who can no longer work. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a government program that functions as a workers’ insurance program. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program designed to provide benefits to those who are disabled and with limited income and resources. However, what many people do not realize is that not only can you receive benefits payments for each month prospectively, you can also receive back payments for past months where you qualified. In some instances, these back benefit payments can be significant and stretch back for many months or even years. Exactly how much disability you are owed is a question of the type or types of benefits you are claiming and the length of the period where you are owed disability benefits.

The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak is committed to informing and assisting Arkansans with SSDI and SSI. For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has helped people from northwest Arkansas navigate the complex system set up by the Social Security Administration.

What Types of Back Benefits Can Be Awarded?

The disability program or programs that you apply to will play a factor in determining the amount of back payments you can expect should your application be approved. For both SSI and SSD, back payments can be awarded for the period of time between the date you first applied for benefits and the date where they were awarded. Thus, it is wise to submit an application as soon as all required diligence has been performed. Because waiting times for a decision can sometimes be lengthy, it is important that the applicant is able to accrue back pay for benefits of several months or more during this period.

For applicants who apply for SSDI, there is another important source for back benefits. Those who apply for benefits through the SSDI program are eligible to receive disability from the onset date of their disability. Here, the back benefits accrue during the period between the onset date and the application for disability benefits. However, unless the applicant or his or her Social Security Disability lawyer challenges it, the SSA will assume that your disability onset date is the date of your application. Since benefits are awarded from your onset date plus a five-month waiting period, it is essential that you properly assert and prove the actual date of onset for your impairment. Failure to properly set forth the onset date and provide objective proof can result in the loss of this portion of the benefits.

How Are Back Payments for Social Security Benefits Made?

The method that the SSA selects to provide the back payment is dependent on whether you have applied for SSDI only or SSDI and SSI. If you have applied for SSDI benefits only, the SSA will typically make a single lump-sum back payment. This single payment will satisfy all back benefit payments the applicant was owed. However, it is important to note that back benefits will not typically be awarded for longer than 12 months. This means that the furthest back the SSA will recognize a disability is 17 months.

If the individual applies for SSI and SSDI benefits or applies for SSI benefits alone, the Social Security Administration is more likely to pay and awarded back benefits through installment payments. These three installment payments are made every six months, however, limits on your maximum monthly SSI benefit payment amounts can apply. However, there are limited circumstances where the SSA will grant a lump-sum payment of back SSI benefits. These circumstances can include when the applicant is not expected to live more than 1 year. In other instances, it may be possible for the first and second payments to be increased if there is a demonstrated medical need or if debt has been accrued in simply paying for the necessities of life– food, clothes, and a home.

Do You Have Questions About Disability Benefits in Arkansas?

For more than 20 years, the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has served Arkansans who have gotten sick, injured, or developed a disability that has forced them to stop working. To set up a free and confidential SSD consultation call us at (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.

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