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SSDI back pay is money you should have received as disability benefits during the time your application and hearing were being processed. Receiving disability benefits can be a long, drawn out process that can take anywhere from several months to several years. Because of this, if you are approved for benefits, you are entitled to compensation for a portion of the time you were waiting.
There is a five month waiting period, starting from the date that you became disabled, for which you are not eligible for benefits. The back pay equation looks like this: number of months disabled – five month wait period = back pay.
To figure out how much back pay you may receive, take the date you first became disabled (according to your medical records) and add the five month waiting period to that. For example, if you became disabled on February 1st, you would be able to receive back pay starting July 1st and continuing for the next 12 months; provided that you have not started receiving benefits at any time during those 12 months.
There is also a cap of 12 months on back pay. For example, if you waited 19 months after the date you first became disabled for a decision, then subtract the five month waiting period (14 months), that is over the 12 month cap so you will only receive 12 months of back pay.
SSDI back pay is paid in one lump sum. It is difficult to determine when you will receive that money because there is no set time frame that says when the Social Security Administration must pay it. The payment is typically made before regular benefits begin; however, some people do not receive their back pay until after they have begun receiving their regular benefit checks.