How far back does Social Security pay disability benefits?

How far back does Social Security pay back benefits?

If you are disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits? Back to when the disability began?

It depends on whether you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or DIB), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits back to the “Protected Filing Date (PFD),” the date you contacted Social Security and asked to apply for benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance, on the other hand, pays benefits up to 12 months before the Protected Filing Date.  However, you should also keep in mind the “5 month waiting period.”

Note: these are maximum back benefit payments. Social Security has to find you disabled back to the PFD (for SSI) or 12 months before the PFD (for SSDI) to get those back benefits.

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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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  • Sam Sneed

    Ihad my disability hearing in the Greensboro, NC office in July of 09 I filed for SS
    I in July of 2007, and did not hire an attorney until my second time being turned down in NC that is called the reconsideration hearing. Well I went with my lawyer and her aid to my hearing expecting to be there at least one hour. The Judge or his record taker swore me in there was no ME or VE at my hearing. The judge ALJ asked me one question and said he agreed with my fully on my claim and that was it, my lawyer did not even say a word, but she told me nothing was legal until we recived a award letter from the AQLJ. It is going on three months and I have heard nothing. I did call odar in Greensboro and they said my case was ready to be turned over to a decision writer but has not been turned over to a decisiopn writer yet. Any idea how long his can take and is it normal even after the ALJ ruled in my favor at the hearing and told me iy was in my favor for it to take this long? I know you're in Atlanta but do you have an idea how long from July 2009 before I get the award letter?
    Thank you for your time,
    Waiting and going crazy in NC

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    Well, actually I am in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado :)

    1) You should talk to your lawyer since you have one. Your lawyer will know average processing times in your area.
    2) Yup, sometimes the cases is decided at the hearing, but then a person waits, and waits (and waits) for the *written* decision to be issued. But, at least then you know what the decision will be.

    This communication is not legal advice does nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. No representation is provided without a validly executed fee agreement.

  • craigfort

    I stand to get about $10,000.00 in SSI back pay. I understand in NC I must keep records of every penny I spend of the back pay? I owe people several thousand dollars that will not want to give me a reciept. Is this true about my back pay? It seems like the money is mine and I should not to account for one dime of what I spend. Do you know of a list that shows what I can spend my money (back pay) on. I no longer have a lawyer.

    Thank you for your time,
    Craig

  • craigfort

    Hi Paul,
    I got my fully favorible award letter from the ALJ in NC. The onset date is July 2007 which means I should be getting a back pay or several back pay checks. My question is that I do not have a represenative payee my money will be direct deposited in my Credit Union account. I read somewhere I had to keep up with every penny I spend of my back pay, is this correct? I have people I have borrowed $2000.00 from that will not want to give me a reciept. I owe a lot of people like this. How will I keep account of this to show SSA. It seems to me like it is my money they owe me and I should not have to prove anything to them concerning my back pay. Do we not have a constitution and bill of rights to protect us from such as this?
    Thank you for your time

  • Kathy

    Not being a lawyer, I think I know why this is. Money we accepted while waiting for the disability claim to come in cannot be a gift; money people loaned us can be acceptable if paperwork was done, bank records etc.. If we put it on a mortage or something, I don't think it will matter – remember, I am not a lawyer

  • Kathy

    Not being a lawyer, I think I know why this is. Money we accepted while waiting for the disability claim to come in cannot be a gift; money people loaned us can be acceptable if paperwork was done, bank records etc.. If we put it on a mortage or something, I don't think it will matter – remember, I am not a lawyer

  • Martin

    Question: Hello, my name is Martin. I've been waiting a very long time for a decision, and finally it is in the hands of the Decision Writer. How long does it typically take to recieve the decision?

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Martin,

    It depends on the backlog on getting decisions written at your ODAR office. Give the office a call (their phone number is on the Notice of Hearing) and ask for a rough estimate on how long it is typically taking to get decisions back from decision writers.

    Good luck!

    They should be able to give you some idea.

  • Martin

    Thank you, sir !

  • Gene

    Mr. Stasiuk,

    I was recently awarded ssd (first check to be August 2010). The onset is Juy 2009 with benefits to be paid starting December 2009 per a letter from ssa. I understand I will get backpay to the December 2009 date at some point in the future. Last week I received a call from ssa to bring documentation in of my two children under 18 for auxillary benefits. Will I also get backpay to december 2009 for my childrens benefits?

    Thank you for your time.

    Gene in Maryland.

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    That's a good question. But, I don't have an answer to that. I am asking around. Ask again in a week if I haven't replied.

  • Peaches1

    I received a favorable decision after years & years of denials. My question is who can I speak to about when I will receive the backpay other than another Social Security worker at the SS.office or at the states main Social Security number that I have spoken to over & over & over & over by various people at the Social Security office in person & over the phone & I have been told time & time again that it will be within 30 days & that started back in June/July of this year. I just wanted to know if there was someone like a supervisor or a person of interest that can give me a straight answer. I just spoke to another worker that stated it was at the last stage which was the review part of it & once it’s reviewed it would be sent out. From that time it would take 10 to 15 days to receive it. Now I’ve spoken to a couple of other people would claim that there’s was completed after mine & that they have already received their back pay checks months ago. I just want to speak to someone that knows what there talking about if possible someone in charge down at the Social Security office. I have so many names of different people I have already spoken to. I just don’t want to be lied to AGAIN..can you point me in the right direction on who I can ask for what title do they carry at the Social Security office, someone maybe other than another worker that doesn’t know what there doing or talking about. I feel if I don’t talk to the right person it’s gonna take another 6 to 8 mos. I was also told “Oh don’t worry you will have it way before the holidays” well here we are & I’m still being told “Once it gets reviewed” AGAIN. Thank You for any help you can give me.
    Peaches1

  • Belldenise64

    i finally got my disability in feb. this year..they tols me it would be 30-90 days for back pay which will be almost 3 yrs! i really really need this money..is there any such thing as like a lawyer or sometype of business that can get me my money now! thats ok if they take a certain percent out i just want it now without all the mumbo-jumbo!! does anybody know??

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I am not aware of anyone that can make the processing of benefits go faster. As a practical matter, I don’t think there is much that can be done to make this step go faster.

    An individual can keep in touch with their case worked to make sure the case worker is not waiting on information.

    What it sounds like you are asking for is the equivalent of a “refund anticipation loan,” which are offered by tax prep places. Those are often some of the most high interest loans an individual can have. I do not believe that there us anything like that available for Social Security back benefits.

  • Animetipsblog

    hay BELLDENISE64″ I had also applied for disability (SSI) and was excepted this month and have been approved since march of 2010 and I had received a letter telling me about the back pay I would be receiving in the next few months.

    But I live with my mother and are electricity is past due so I contacted the women in charge of my account and she said ok I will see what I can do for you.

    I called her on Thursday of this month and Friday I told her I opened up a bank account and she told me over the phone I should have had one the day I called her because she already sent me a check in the mail of over 2,200 for bills and other things.

    So if you can prove you need the money for bills you might be able to get your back pay a bit sooner I got a payment sent out in the mail Thursday.
    I should get it by Monday.

    I wish you luck.

  • Tupaton

    How far back can SS go in determining overpayment.  Their letter said they wanted 5 yrs info from work comp but after getting it, they requested all my work comp payment records going back 12 yrs.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I am not aware of any limit on how far back SSA can review cases for possible overpayment. Which, when you consider how SSA limits how far back they will pay benefits, is pretty unequal. 

  • Jens4jesus

    I was at my hearing this last Friday and my last day of work since I was hurt was back in 1999.  the doctor who was on the phone evaluating my case said he placed my disability time as Feb 2005.  I am insured until March of 2005. 
    The judge was hesitant to allow this; he gave me an extra day to decide before he proceeds with a bench ruling in my favor.
    Should I do this?  Should I freeze 5 years of time where I couldn’t work?  I have good medical records stating I was in a lot of pain and have bilateral carpal tunnel and bilateral epicondolitis.  I have ddd and spinal stenosis and am basically bed-ridden.
    I need help asap. 
    I don’t trust this attorney as he was not the one I initially hired.  My initial attorney informed a few days before my hearing that she was not an attorney at this point because she didn’t keep up  with the bar’s requirements and a partner of her firm took my case whom I never met until the day of my hearing!  Please help!

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Jen. You don’t mention the protected filing date in your case, so there is no way for anyone to determine how far back you might be paid benefits. Considering the article you are commenting on, what would a finding that the disability began in 1999 (instead of 02/05) actually gain you? 
    Even if you aren’t too happy with your new attorney, that might be a question to ask. 

    Good luck!

  • Miszflyx3

    I just founed out I’m aproved I apptyed in 1995 and was denied I never went back now in 2012 they said I’m aprooved will I resive all that money back??

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It depends on the type of benefits you applied for, your protected filing date, and whether SSA is reopening a prior claim. 

    Nonetheless, congratulations on winning!

  • Miszflyx3

    Well I never worked and I applyed in95 and got denied now in 2012 I applyed again and got aproved will I get back pay from when I first applyed?? Like I said I never worked so I applyed for ssi for non working people I for got what its called

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It is possible to “reopen” a prior Social Security disability case (SSDI or SSI). However, a request to reopen an SSI case has to be made within 2 years of the *initial* decision on the prior case. http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/rulings/ssi/07/SSR85-23-ssi-07.html

    For SSDI cases, the request has to be made within 4 years of the initial decision.

    The only exception to this time limit requirement is in cases of mental incompetence (which is quite a bit higher standard than mental disability).  http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/rulings/ar/04/AR90-04-ar-04.html

  • Miszflyx3

    So how far back would I get paid then anyone knows

  • Llb292

    call ssi to see if your mother is receiving a check, you might have explain yourself. if she is .shame on her.     BUSTED,      good luck;

  • Kay

    I filed for social Security disability and was denied on April 2nd so I appealed the same day….. in my apeal I didn’t put anything diff on the papers (online) or what I told the dr’s at all. I get a letter May 2nd saying that they see my condition as worsen and they gave me more paper work to fill out… the thing is, I didn’t put anything diff in my appeal or what I told their dr’s that I did the first time or anything, so what I was wondering is why would they send me something saying my condition has worsen since I first appiled.. when there is nothing new or diff.. I’m at a loss. and I’m not sure what to think

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Different people look at the appeal. The result is one person may look at your case and see someone who can work. The next person may look at your case and see a case which should be approved. Hopefully, you will get approved this time. Good luck!

  • Kay

    Thanks for your reply,, I tried to go online and see if anyone else has been through something like me, but couldn’t find anything. that makes sense someone else looking at it… I just hope it’s a good sign. I don’t want to get my hopes up.. but with someone else looking at it and they think it’s got worse in their words, kinda gives me something to grab on to, and think  they are thinking about approving me. with them wanting me to feel out another paper gives me hope.. at least it wasn’t another denial

  • Kayl

    Well I called the social security office and talk to a rep, she said they made a decision in my case and they sent a letter out yesterday, I ask if she could tell me anything on their decision and she said she couldn’t that I would have to wait for the written decision, well tomorrow is the 2nd, everytime I’ve got something it’s been the 2nd of the month,, I’m kinda down I figure she would have told me something.. :(

  • Barb

    I receive a Social Security Disability check each month for $1079. I am 62 as of July 2012 so when I am of regular Social Security age will this amount change at all or remain the same?And will I continue to be on SSDis or reg SS?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    According to Social Security, disability benefits transition to retirement benefits and the amount should stay the same. http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify.htm

    For specific information about your situation, I encourage you to contact Social Security.

  • Barb

    Thank you Thomas!

    batjarrell@yahoo.com

  • Jacki Vergara

    Can someone tell me, why is it my husband fought for his social security disability for years, Judge ruled to go back 5 years they only paid him for 17 months. People at social security office said the only go back 17 months. then why would the Judge rule going back 5 years? If someone could tell me something. thank you..

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    If the claimant alleges disability going back 5 years, SSA will consider if the disability goes back 5 years. This is separate from how far back SSA will pay benefits. Sometimes, a claimant HAS to allege an onset of disability much earlier than s/he can be paid because of a date last insured issue: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/08/date-last-insured/