How Much Will My Backpay Be?

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Art: Robin Mead

STEP ONE: FIGURE OUT WHEN YOUR BACKPAY ELIGIBILITY STARTS

SSDI Backpay

Eligibility starts one of these two dates. Whichever is later.

a. 12 months before application date (day you first applied)

b. 5 months after established onset date

Benefits begin the month after eligibility starts.

SSI Backpay

Eligibility starts on one of these two dates. Whichever is later.

a. Application date (day you first applied)

b. Established onset date

Benefits begin the month after eligibility starts.

What’s Established Onset Date?

It’s the date Social Security decides that you first became disabled. It may or may not be the same date you feel you first became disabled.

You won’t know the date until after you are approved.

STEP TWO: FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH YOUR MONTHLY CHECK WILL BE

How Much Money Will I Get if I Am Approved for Disability?

For SSDI, if you have children, you can sign them up for dependent benefits. They will receive a monthly check, plus backpay. (SSDI only. Not SSI)

STEP THREE: FIGURE OUT BACKPAY

Monthly Check x Number of Eligible Months = Your backpay

But wait! First these things might be deducted:

🌷 lawyer’s fees

🌷 money owed to IRS

🌷 defaulted federal student loans learn your options

🌷 state cash assistance (if you received any while applying)

🌷 state temporary disability (if you received any while applying)

🌷 workers comp in some cases

Two things that won’t be deducted now, but you may need to pay later. Be careful before spending your backpay!

🌷 Long term disability (if you received any while applying). This won’t be deducted, but the insurance company may send you a bill for some or all of your backpay.

🌷 Taxes. If you had no income while applying, this won’t be a problem. If you or your spouse had other income, there is a chance you will owe taxes on your backpay.

EXCEPTIONS 

🌷Exception# 1: If you ever applied before, there is a small chance you can get your old case reopened. This can make the backpay go waaaay back. How to Reopen an Earlier Claim

🌷 Exception #2: In some situations, there is a five month waiting period that will reduce SSDI backpay. If your waiting period impacts your SSDI backpay, you may be able to collect SSI backpay for those five months. (only if you were low income at that time)

How You Get Backpay

🌷 SSDI sent to you all at once.

🌷 SSI sent to you in three separate payments, each six months apart.

🌷 For SSI for children, if they amount is large, sometimes you will be required to put it in a special account called “dedicated account” that can only be used in specific ways. Future SSI checks can go in your regular bank account and won’t have these restrictions.

Learn More

Everything No One Ever Tells You After You Get Approved for Disability

How High Will My Disability Check Be?

7 thoughts on “How Much Will My Backpay Be?”

  1. letter sent to me says determined disabled and one paper says retirement, survivors, and disability insurance. the other one says supplamental security income. does getting a deceased spouse survivor retirement effect this?

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  2. I was told I’d be getting what was a large amount to me, by woman at SS. But that they only paid it out to you every 6 months. Got initial payment but it’s past 6 months and there’s been no next payment yet. (?)

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  3. Don’t spend that back pay check until you find out how much you owe on taxes from it. Years ago I didn’t know that I would owe taxes on my disability back pay, it hit us hard.

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  4. I received mine before I even was sent my reward letter. So I was totally clueless. Imagine my surprise when a large lump sum appeared in my bank account! I don’t even know how they got my bank information. I was so shocked I told my mother that I was certain that the bank had made a terrible mistake.

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