What Are Retroactive Disability Payments?

Most people who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) will not receive their benefits immediately. It may take several weeks or even up to several months after an award of benefits for a claimant (applicant) to start receiving their benefits (both for the start of individual monthly payments and the payment of any retroactive lump sum payment due to them). This is the result of various factors including backlogs at the Social Security Administration  “payment centers”, and various potentially time-consuming offset calculations that may need to be processed before the benefit payments can be released to the claimant.

SSDI benefits can technically be paid retroactively for up to one year prior to the benefit application date, but no sooner than the sixth month after the established onset date of disability (Established Onset Date, or EOD). This is due to the fact that there is a mandatory “blackout” or “waiting” period in which no retroactive benefits accrue for the first five months of established disability.

Factors When Making Retroactive Benefit Payments

After your benefits have been awarded, the SSA considers these three factors about your case in calculating how much (if any) retroactive benefits will be due to you:

  1. The established onset date of your disability (EOD)
  2. The date of your SSDI application
  3. The amount of time you have waited for your benefits since applying in relation to the EOD (referring to the time period after application while your claim for benefits was being examined and determined or decided by SSA)

What Is The Difference Between an Alleged Onset Date and an Established Onset Date and How Do They Affect the Amount of Retroactive Benefits Due?

When you file an application for SSDI benefits, you will have included in the application the date on which you believe you became disabled and therefore unable to work. This is called the Alleged Onset Date (AOD).

However, even if SSA agrees that you are disabled under their rules, and awards you benefits, they do not have to agree with your AOD. If they do agree with the date you have indicated as your AOD, or the start of your Period of Disability (POD), this will also become your Established Onset Date (EOD). 

However, if SSA does not believe that your medical records (and other evidence) support a finding of disability as of your AOD, they will establish a different EOD. Therefore, when SSA finds a later onset of disability (EOD) than you have alleged in your application, this will likely affect the amount of retroactive benefits ultimately to be paid to you. There are also various technical reasons that may affect the established onset date set by SSA (including such factors as earnings and possibly the receipt of unemployment benefits). 

Are You Eligible for Retroactive SSDI Benefit Payments?

You may qualify for retroactive SSDI benefit payments if the following are true:

  • Your disability claim has been approved,
  • You have waited for more than five months since your EOD to be awarded benefits, and
  • There is no reason that payments are withheld from you (such as child support arrears, prior overpayments to you from SSA, and past-due federal tax payments).

What If You Do Not Agree With the Established Onset Date (EOD) Determined by SSA?

If you do not agree with the Established Onset Date (EOD) set by SSA, you do have a right to appeal this determination or decision. However, appealing an EOD can be a risky decision, and you should speak to an experienced SSDI attorney before deciding to file such an appeal.

How a Social Security Attorney Can Help

Working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney like Sara J. Frankel can drastically improve your chances of receiving benefits, and in convincing SSA to establish as early an onset date as possible (which as discussed above may affect the amount of retroactive benefits you receive). Attorney Frankel is a former Social Security Administration staff attorney at the Office of Hearings and Appeals (now the Office of Hearings Operations), with over 29 years of experience in the practice of  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Attorney Frankel can help you with her extensive knowledge of:

  • How to compile the most comprehensive medical records and other documentation needed as evidence to support your application for SSDI and SSI disability benefits
  • The many ways in which you can help to strengthen your claim for disability benefits before it is even filed (and after)
  • The way to create the most effectively worded application for SSDI and SSI benefits to be filed with the Social Security Administration

Attorney Frankel and her compassionate attorneys and staff will also help you throughout the entire process by:

  • Handling all submissions of medical records and other evidence to the Social Security Administration.
  • Handling all calls from the Social Security Administration
  • Filing all necessary SSDI and SSI appeals
  • Presenting SSDI and SSI cases in front of Social Security administrative law judges

Increase your chances of being awarded SSDI and SSI benefits. Get the money you need and deserve! Call the Law Offices of Sara J. Frankel and Associates for a consultation today.