Are you limited to only 12 months of back Social Security benefits?

Can I get only 12 months of back Social Security benefits?

We have talked a lot about how far back can you get Social Security benefits

I want to make sure there is no confusion: Social Security does NOT limit you to only 12 months of back benefits.

There is a limit in how far BEFORE your protected filing date (PFD) you can get benefits (12 months in a Social Security Title 2 Disability Insurance claim — SSDI or DIB).

However, this is only part of the total amount of back benefits most people are entitled to.

If Social Security approved your claim as soon as you applied, then you might be limited to 12 months of back benefits (because you won as soon as you filed).

In most cases though, it takes months or years to win your case. Potentially, you are eligible to get benefits for the entire time you are kept waiting AND up to 12 months before you filed for benefits.  

Of course, Social Security requires that you prove that you were disabled that entire time.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • JointManConcerv

    That's why its very important to file for children and spousal auxiliary benefits at the time the disabled person files for him/herself.If you wait for the potential years it can take to be approved,theirs a huge potential monetary loss.Say it takes three years for the disabled person to get approved,then the spouse and/or child's payee files for auxiliary benefits.that's a potential 19 month loss in S.S. auxiliary benefits.That happened to my family in Texas,only it wasn't just 19 months it was 36 months lost.The S.S. office only went back 12 months from the auxiliary benefits filing request. I guess my problem started when i agreed to let a Social Security Representative assist me in filing my claim.Don'T make the mistake I did! Get an attorney to represent you and your family,during this Battle/War with the S.S. Office.

  • JointManConcerv

    That's why its very important to file for children and spousal auxiliary benefits at the time the disabled person files for him/herself.If you wait for the potential years it can take to be approved,theirs a huge potential monetary loss.Say it takes three years for the disabled person to get approved,then the spouse and/or child's payee files for auxiliary benefits.that's a potential 19 month loss in S.S. auxiliary benefits.That happened to my family in Texas,only it wasn't just 19 months it was 36 months lost.The S.S. office only went back 12 months from the auxiliary benefits filing request. I guess my problem started when i agreed to let a Social Security Representative assist me in filing my claim.Don'T make the mistake I did! Get an attorney to represent you and your family,during this Battle/War with the S.S. Office.

  • Micki

    I received a Fully Favorable decision from ODAR in Virginia 3/3/11. I filed for SSID 6/2010. DECISION on the last page of this document states that the claimant has been disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act since January 12, 2008. I had many people from the National Social Security Office advise me that my benefits will start with the alleged onset date of 1/12/08. Please help me understand this….Can ODAR move your onset back past the 1 year from your filing date? I’m confused I’m being told a lot of different information. When would my Medicare start. Thank you, Micki

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    As noted in the disclaimer, I cannot address individual fact patterns. So, I cannot say how far back you may receive benefits.

    However, I can provide general information. The onset date (the date the disability began) and pay date (how far back Social Security can pay benefits) can be two different things.

    SSA can only pay DIB (aka SSDI) benefits 12 months prior to the date of application. There are some limited exceptions, such as if a prior claim is reopened (then it might be a maximum of 12 month prior to the previous application).

    The onset date is just how far back Social Security found the individual disabled. Now, SSA is not going to pay disability benefits BEFORE the onset date. However, if the onset date is more than 12 months prior to the protected filing date (when SSA is first contacted to start an application), SSA will only pay a maximum of 12 months of back benefits. Things get a bit more complicated when the 5 month waiting period is considered, which I have written about here: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/04/what-is-the-5-month-waiting-period-in-disability-insurance-cases/

    So, why would an individual claim an onset more than 12 months before the protected filing date? A couple of possible reasons: 1) to actually get 12 months of back benefits, instead of 7 (after the 5 month waiting period is considered). 2) to prove disability before the Date Last Insured (DLI) discussed here: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/08/date-last-insured/

    There may be additional reasons, but that is what I can think of off the top of my head.

    As far as the Medicare issue: the general rule on when Medicare begins is discussed here: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/06/i-won-my-disability-case-now-i-have-to-wait-for-medicare/

    Congrats on the win Micki!

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