PAST DUE DISABILITY BENEFITS
Past due disability benefits are payments that almost every person who applies for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits receives. Past due benefits are part of your benefit award. At Cannon Disability Law, our goal is to maximize your benefits. This means we will try to win all of your past due benefits.
Unfortunately, winning Social Security benefits takes time. Sometimes, it takes as long as two years to win SSD or SSI benefits. Therefore, the SSA will owe you past due benefits or backpay benefits.
You will also receive ongoing monthly benefits. Benefits that pay from the present forward are your future benefits. Future benefits end at full retirement age. At full retirement age, your monthly benefit remains the same, but it is called retirement benefits.
Your past due SSD benefits go back in time depending on the date you filed your SSD application and the date you alleged you became unable to work. There are a number of factors that can change how far back in time you can go. This article reviews those factors. Particularly, whether or not your past due benefits can go back earlier than your application.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT OF YOUR PAST DUE DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Two important dates determine the amount of your past due disability benefits. The first date is the date your disability began. This is also known as your alleged onset date of disability. The second date that is important is the date you apply for benefits. In other words, your application date.
Another important date that can affect your benefits is your date last insured. If you haven’t worked for a number of years, you need to check on the date you were last insured for benefits. Find out more about the date last insured here.
Additionally, the other factor you need to understand is what type of benefit you are filing for: SSD or SSI. Or, are you eligible for both? Once you know these dates and the type of benefits you are seeking, then you can figure out the amount of your past due disability benefits.
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS
SSD PAST DUE BENEFITS
The amount of your past due benefits under the SSD program depends on three important dates:
- the date you apply for benefits or your application date
- your alleged onset date of disability or the date your disability began
- the date the SSA approves you for benefits.
YOUR SSD APPLICATION DATE
The first important date that determines your past due disability benefits is the date you apply for benefits.
When you file for Social Security Disability benefits, you become eligible for past due benefits one year prior to the date of application. However, you must not have been working and you must be able to prove you were disabled during that time.
Because it can take the SSA up to 24 months to approve you for SSD benefit, you may eligible for past due benefits. These are the benefits that are due to you because of your disability. However, not everyone receives past due benefits. For example, you can only receive past due benefits if you were disabled before the application date.
For example, if the SSA judge finds your disability began 17 months prior to your application date, then you will receive 12 months of past due benefits. This accounts for the rule that you are eligible for benefits one year prior to the date of your SSD application.
But, it also accounts for the five month waiting period. The five month waiting period applies to every applicant for SSD benefits. This waiting period begins on the date that you are found disabled.
YOUR ONSET DATE OF DISABILITY
The next important date in calculating your past due benefits is your alleged onset date of disability. There are number of reasons why this date is important. First, it is the date you claim your disability began.
When you allege an onset date, your work history should show that you have not worked after that date. By work, the SSA means performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Read here to learn more about what the SSA means when they talk about SGA.
When you file your application for SSD benefits, you will pick a date that your disability began. Sometimes, this is an easy thing to do. Perhaps it is the last day you actually went to work. For example, perhaps you had a heart attack and never returned to work. Or, you may have been hospitalized on a certain date and did not attempt to work again. Therefore, you would pick the date of your disabling event as your onset date of disability.
THE ALLEGED ONSET DATE AND THE ESTABLISHED ONSET DATE
The date you choose is known as you “alleged onset date” (AOD). But just because you choose that date does not mean that the SSA will agree with you. The SSA may decide you became eligible for benefits due to disability at a later date in time.
For example, perhaps you had a heart attack and didn’t return to work, but the SSA may choose a later onset date where the medical records show your heart condition got worse. Likewise, perhaps you were in the hospital for depression and didn’t return to work. But later in time, you received an official diagnosis of Major Depression. The SSA may choose the later date as your onset date.
One the SSA chooses an onset date, even if it is the same as the onset date you chose, they will call it an “established onset date” (EOD). Remember, the AOD is not always the same date is the AOD you chose. But why does that matter?
Because the EOD is the date that Social Security states your disability actually began. Therefore, the SSA will use your EOD date to establish your eligibility for past due benefits. The 5 month waiting period for benefits begins on the date of your EOD.
THE FIVE MONTH WAITING PERIOD
The third important date that affects when your SSD past due benefits begin is the five-month waiting period. After the SSA establishes your onset date, the law allows them to pause the start of your SSD benefits for 5 months. This 5 month waiting period applies to everyone who applies for SSD benefits, except for those individuals who have Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS.
The 5 month waiting period also creates other examples of not being eligible for past due benefits. For example, if you apply for SSD benefits the day you stop working due to your disability and the SSA finds you eligible for benefits within 3 months of your application date, then you would not have any past due benefits.
Additionally, your SSD benefits would not begin until the five month waiting period ends. So, if the SSA found you disabled 3 months after you applied for benefits, then you would still have two more months to wait before your SSD payment begins.
Most people, however, are not granted benefits within 3 months of filing their SSD application. Because it can take up to 2 years to be approved, most people who file for benefits will receive past due SSD benefits.
PAST DUE SSI BENEFITS BEGIN THE DAY YOU APPLY FOR SSI BENEFITS
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are completely different than SSD benefits. The day you apply for SSI benefits is also the day you become eligible for SSI payments. There is no five month waiting period for SSI benefits.
However, you are also not able to receive past due benefits prior to the date of your SSI application. For example, you cannot claim any SSI benefits one year prior to the date of your application. This is true, even if you can prove that you were disabled prior to the date of the SSI application.
The only past due benefits SSI you can receive is for the months the SSA took to decide your claim.
For example, pretend you file an application for benefits online at SSA’s website. Let’s say that you file the application on January 1, 2022. The day you file your SSI application is also the date you first become eligible for the payment of benefits. This is true even if you allege your disability began June 1, 2021. You will not receive SSI benefits prior to the date of your SSI application. Therefore, most people choose the date they file their SSI application as their alleged onset date of disability.
YOUR ONSET DATE STILL APPLIES IN AN SSI CLAIM
The earliest you can receive past due SSI benefits is the first of the month after the month in which you file your application. Using the above example, if the SSA finds you disabled, then your first SSI payment would be due on February 1, 2022. If the SSA finds you eligible for SSI benefits in June of 2021, then you would receive past due benefits beginning in February of 2022. Because, that is when you applied.
However, there is another wrinkle in past due disability benefits. Even if you are only seeking SSI benefits, the SSA may decide that your onset date of disability began after your application date. They may decide this using your medical records.
If they decide your disability began at a later date, then your SSI benefits would begin after your SSI application date. Your benefits would start the month after the month that SSA found you disabled.
WHEN WILL YOUR RECEIVE YOUR MONEY?
YOUR FIRST MONTHLY PAYMENT
Your monthly SSD and/or SSI benefits begin shortly after the SSA finds you eligible for disability benefits. For example, if your case goes to hearing and the SSA judge grants your case, then your monthly benefits begin shortly after the judge’s decision. Typically, it takes 1-2 months after the judge’s decision for your monthly SSD and/or SSI benefits to begin.
You should make sure that the SSA has your checking account information. The SSA uses direct deposit to deliver your check. They don’t usually send paper checks in the mail anymore.
Another thing that can delay your first check is failing to do an SSI update. If you are going to receive SSI benefits, then the SSA must call you and ask you financial questions.
These questions determine your income and asset eligible for SSI benefits. Read here for more information about SSI benefits. If you receive SSI benefits, then you are also eligible for Medicaid. Find out more information about Medicaid benefits here.
YOUR PAST DUE BENEFIT PAYMENT
It can take a number of months before you receive your past due benefit check. You should calculate the number of months it is going to take to receive the check from the date of the ALJ’s decision. It is the ALJ’s written decision that triggers SSA’s time period in which to process your check.
It is possible to receive your past due benefits before your first monthly payment starts. But, it is unlikely. Typically, it takes 4-6 months for the SSA to process your past due disability payment check.
You will know that the SSA is processing your past due disability payment because you will receive an award letter. This letter is known as the Notice of Award letter.
In the letter, the SSA explains how they figure out how much you will receive in past due benefits. Read the letter carefully. Check the math. SSA sometimes makes mistakes. If you have an attorney, they should check the amount of your past due disability benefit.
DO PAST DUE DISABILITY BENEFITS COME IN A LUMP SUM?
All SSD past due benefits pay out in one lump sum. This amount pays to your through direct deposit. The amount transfers from the SSA into your checking account.
However, past due SSI benefits pay out differently. The SSA will pay a past due SSI payment in one lump-sum. However, they will only do so if it is a small amount. Typically, that amount is under $2000.
If you past due SSI payment is larger than $2000, then the SSA will split the past due benefit amount into three payment. For example, if the past due benefits that the SSA owes to you is more than 3 times the maximum monthly SSI benefit amount, then you will receive three separate partial past due payments.
THREE PAYMENTS AT SIX MONTH INTERVALS
In 2022, the maximum monthly SSI payment, depending on the state in which you live, is $841. If your past due SSI payment is three times this amount, then your past due benefits will pay out in three payment every six months.
The first two payments can’t be more than three times your maximum monthly benefit. The final payment due to you is paid in the third payment, no matter the past due amount.
There are some exceptions to receiving your SSI past due benefit payments in three separate checks. For example, if you are not expected to live more than 12 months, you can receive your SSI past due benefit in one lump sum.
Additionally, it is possible for SSA to increase the first and second payments if you need funds to buy a home. Also, they will consider giving you more money if you need to pay for necessary medical needs. Or, they will give you more money if you need to pay off debts related housing, clothing or food. If this applies to you, then you should contact your local SSA office.
CAN THE IRS TAX PAST DUE DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) past due benefits and SSI monthly payments are not taxed.
On the other hand, SSD benefits are subject to tax. Also, so is your past due SSD benefit payment.
If you receive a large amount of SSD past due benefits, that could possibly put your income into a higher tax bracket. If that is the case, it could result in a large tax bill. However, the IRS won’t penalize you for getting what could possibly be two years of past due benefits in one year.
The IRS provides a way to file your taxes so that your past due benefit payments get separated into several years. Social Security will send you a form called the SSA-1099 for each year you receive benefits.
The form should state in Box 3 the exact amount of your lump sum that was accrued during previous years. Each year is listed next to the total amount paid for that year.
Rather than asking you to file amended returns for those years, the IRS allows you to handle it all on your current tax return. But you still must use your prior years’ income amounts. This method of figuring out your tax bill is discussed in IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. Cannon Disability urges you to seek the advice of a tax professional.
CAN YOU GET PAST DUE BENEFITS FROM PRIOR APPLICATIONS?
The answer is yes. You can get past due or back due disability benefits from your prior applications, because Social Security law allows a judge to reopen prior applications.
For example, if the SSA reopens your prior application and your onset date is prior to the previous application date, then you might be able to win more past due disability benefits.
SSA’s laws allow them to reopen your first application if you file a second application within one year of the date of the denial on the first application. You can reopen the first application “for any reason.”
For example, pretend you filed your first application on January 1, 2021 and then you were denied by the SSA on March 1, 2021. Then, after the denial you did not appeal it. Instead, you decide on January 1, 2022, to file a second application. Because your second application is filed within one year of the denial date, March 1, 2021, of the first application, your first application can be reopened.
When you file your second application, you can request that the SSA reopen your prior application. However, whether or not your application will be reopened is up to the judge at the SSA hearing. If you want to be paid on a prior application, it is good to hire an attorney to represent you. Your attorney will make sure to try and win all of your past due benefits.
WHAT IS A FREE CONSULTATION?
As you can see, SSDI and SSI benefits are complex. You want to receive all of the Social Security benefits that you are due.
Cannon Disability believes you should hire a law firm with the experience to obtain all of your past due disability benefits. We offer a free consultation. But, what does this mean?
For most people who want to become clients, it means we will talk to you about your case over the phone. We will not charge you to examine the merits of your case, including questions about past due benefits. Most lawyers do charge an attorney fee to review your case. We do not.
Please understand, however, that giving you a free review of your case is not the same thing as us becoming your law firm. First, we examine the merits of your case based upon the facts you give us. Second, we might ask that you send us medical records or a copy of your SSA paperwork. We do this so we can understand the details of your case. Even if we ask for more information, it does not mean we accept your case or that we are your attorney.
You will know if you hire our legal team because we will send you our contract. We will also send you other SSA paperwork to fill out. You must return your paperwork to us immediately.
If you do not sign and send the paperwork back, then we are not your law firm. We will send you a stamped envelope to send the paperwork back to us. Or, we will accept some electronically signed paperwork.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS
If you want to receive all of your past due SSD benefits, then you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you apply for disability benefits.
Studies show that you are three times more likely to win benefits if you hire an attorney. Winning past due disability benefits can result in more money for you. Hire an attorney with the experience to win all of your benefits.
In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is call or contact us. We offer a free review of your case over the phone. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.
Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.
The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the attorney fee cap, whatever is less.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF YOUR CLAIM?
If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. But usually those costs are less than $100. Once we win your case, the attorney fee comes from your back benefit.
But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay money upfront. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal. Call today. See what we can do for you.
No matter where you live, we will answer your questions about past due disability benefits. We want to be your legal team. If you have questions, give us a call today.
CANNON DISABILITY’S REPRESENTATIVES WILL TRY TO WIN YOUR PAST DUE DISABILITY BENEFITS
Many times, SSA judges try to change your onset date to reduce the past due benefits that SSA has to pay. We will do what we can so that does not happen. Of course, we want to see you win all of your past due benefits.
If you are curious about your past due benefits, then we will walk you through your options. Our attorneys and staff can help also you apply for your SSDI and SSI benefits.
Additionally, if you want to learn more about the representatives at Cannon Disability Law, then read our About Us page. There you will find more information about our lawyers. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. She has over 20 years of experience with our law firm.
Dianna Cannon has many years of experience representing disability claimants. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are experts. You can trust us to help you win your SSD and SSI benefits.
In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Also, we help our clients make sure they are getting all of their benefits, including Medicaid and Medicare.
Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. There are also many forms you will need to fill out. But, don’t worry. If you have questions about these forms, we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us today for your free consultation. Let us help you obtain your ongoing and past due disability benefits.