By submitting this form, you agree to be contacted via the information given through email, phone call, or text message.

Disability Attorney Forrest Jackson

SSDI Back Pay: Can I Get Back Pay for Disability Claims?


You've been patiently waiting for your Social Security Disabiliy Insurance (SSDI) claim to be approved. In most cases this would be a wait of one year or more. Unless your case was one of the rare instances of an expedited claim, you likely have not received any disability benefits at this point. When your disability claim is finally approved, you will receive ongoing benefits due to your inabilty to work. But you may also be eligible for back pay.

What is Back Pay?

Back pay is the amount you should have been paid had your claim been approved going back to the date your disability has been considered to have occurred. This date is often known as the Established Onset Date (EOD) of your disability. In reality however, the overwhelming majority of disability claims are not paid right away, or even a couple of months after you apply. In general, it takes 3 to 5 months to get a decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and in the majority of those cases, the claim is denied and you would need to appeal your claim.

How is Back Pay Calculated?

Even with an approval, your claim may not be paid right away but you are entitled to pay for the time you have been waiting. If you won on appeal, you will have been waiting even longer, in some cases as long as 2 years. How ever long the wait was, you will receive your back pay going back to the day you become eligible, which is 5 months after the EOD of your disability. This date is determined by the SSA.

What Is The 5-Month Waiting Period?

All SSDI claims are subject to the 5-Month Waiting Period before benefits can begin to be paid. This date begins at the EOD of the disability but there is no back pay for this time. There are exceptions to the 5-month waiting period for individuals who have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The exceptions also apply to individuals who had gone back to work, but had to stop again due to their disabilities and also for the children of the disabled worker up until age 18, or 19 if a full-time student. The 5-month waiting period also does not apply to Supplemental Security Income.

Is Pay Retroactive the Same as Back Pay?

No, it isn't. Retroactive pay is for the period of time going back to the EOD if there was a gap of time after the EOD and before you file for benefits. There is a maximum of 12 months that can be paid for retroactive pay. So if your claim is filed later than one year after the onset of your disability, you can only receive retroactive pay for one year going back, which will mark the beginning of the 5-month waiting period. There is however, no time limit for back pay. So if you wait more than one year to receive your disability benefits you will receive the entire amount dating back the EOD, or onset of the disability, less the 5-month waiting period. This will almost always be the situation with approvals that are won on appeal.

Our Disability Attorney Can Help

An experienced disability attorney can help make sure you get all the benefits you are entitled to including back pay and retroactive pay if available. We offer a free case review for appeals if you have been denied. We don't charge any fee unless we are successful with your claim.

Jackson Law Firm serves the Chattanooga area and surrounding communities including Soddy Daisy, East Ridge, Red Bank, Dayton, Dunlap, Ooltewah, Collegedale, Cleveland TN as Well as North Georgia including Dalton, Ringgold, Fort Oglethorpe, and other surrounding areas.