What Are SSDI Back Pay and SSI Back Pay? 

SSI and SSDI back pay payments are benefits that you receive immediately after your Social Security Disability claim is approved. They are accrued payments that you get back to the date you initially applied for coverage. 

Most applicants are denied at least once for SSD or SSI before they are approved for benefits, so the application process can take months or even years. Back pay is the benefits you’re due that accrued during the approval process. You can get a better idea of how back pay works by using the SSDI back pay calculator on the Social Security Administration website. 

What Are the SSI and SSDI Back Pay Rules? 

Back pay is decided based on the date you initially applied for Disability and the date when your Disability officially started, known also as the “established onset date.” An administrative law judge or DDSD examiner will determine your established onset date based on the medical records you provide. Whether you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits, or both, determines how back pay will be distributed. 

SSI benefits begin accruing on the date you file your application. However, you may not immediately receive your back pay when your claim is approved. Sometimes Social Security has a longer waiting period if your case is decided by an administrative law judge. SSI back pay payments are also only paid incrementally, so you won’t receive a lump sum like you would with SSD benefits. The legal reason for this delay is that lump sum payments may put a strain on the financial resources of an SSI recipient. 

What Happens After You’re Approved for Back Pay? 

Those individuals who receive both SSI and SSDI benefits may have a longer waiting period than those receiving only SSD payments. SSD disability benefits are paid either from the date the application was filed, or up to 12 months before the date of the application minus a five-month wait time. The five-month wait time essentially eliminates your first five months of payments. The longer the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes to approve your case, the less this waiting period will affect it.  

Back pay owed from SSD may be received in a lump sum, unlike that from SSI. However, the payment date can be unpredictable. Sometimes recipients receive their normal benefits before receiving back pay, but other times back pay comes first. On occasion, people have even found their back pay benefits deposited in their bank account before they even hear that they’ve been approved for Disability. 

The government may also adjust your benefits according to windfall offset provisions set by Social Security. The amount of benefits you receive from SSI is income-based, so if you qualify for both SSI and SSDI, your back pay from SSDI counts as income for the purposes of SSI. Because of this, your SSI payments will be automatically reduced based on this additional “income.” Any SSI benefits adjustment will be calculated by assuming SSD back pay was available to you throughout the entire disability period. 

How Can a Social Security Lawyer or Advocate Help? 

The experienced Social Security attorneys at the Disability Help Center can assist you in establishing the best onset date for your case so you receive your rightful amount of back pay. Let us guide you through the application process. Call us today at 1-888-418-8860.