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Disability Backpay: What You Need to Know

Pursuing benefits from the Social Security Administration for disability can be an unfortunately long process, especially for those who are in dire need. Fortunately, in many cases, it is possible to get retroactive benefits based on your initial filing date.

These benefits may not go all the way back to your date of filing but they can help you with some of those accrued debts. Learn about SSDI and backpay, how far back you can get benefits, and the complications that can arise, as well as how a disability lawyer can help your case.

Understanding the Concept of Onset Date

There are two important dates that come into play when dealing with your back pay for disability benefits. These are the medical onset date or MOD, and the established onset date, or EOD. The MOD is the date at which you became disabled, from a medical standpoint. The moment you would qualify as disabled for purposes of SSDI, but don’t meet other necessary eligibility criteria, that’s your MOD.

More important is the Established Onset Date (EOD). This is the date that your impairment actually stops you from working, and you meet all of the established criteria for benefits. Determining your EOD requires meeting four specific criteria:

  1.      You can no longer perform your previous line of work.
  2.      You cannot do any other variety of work due to your condition
  3.      Your disability will last for at least a year or will result in your death
  4.      You meet all other eligibility criteria, including having the requisite work credits and are a legal resident of the United States for SSDI purposes.

What the Waiting Period Means

The SSA imposes a waiting period on all benefits after an application has been approved. This waiting period begins at your EOD and lasts for five months. This means that if your established onset date is June 1, your benefits become effective as of November 1, five months later. However, this five month waiting period begins on the first of the month following your EOD. That means if your onset date is June 2, your effective benefit date won’t be until December 1.

How Far Back Do Payments Go?

Retroactive payments, or “back pay,” from the SSA are limited to one year, or twelve months, not counting your five month period. Considering the example above, and setting a date of 2015, if your EOD was June 2, 2015, and you are approved on November 1 of 2016, you can collect back to November 1, 2015.

Even if approved before that, say on September 12, you can still collect back to November 1, 2015, as that’s the date from which you are eligible for payments (following your waiting period). Likewise, if you aren’t approved till December 1 of 2016, you will be awarded back benefits to December 1 of 2015, 12 months earlier.

Calling a Disability Lawyer

Applying for and receiving SSDI benefits can be a long, confusing and stressful process. Often, your best bet is to get help from a disability lawyer, who can help steer you on the right path. If you are in this position, contact the disability attorneys at Heuser & Heuser for help today.

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