When a medical condition prevents you from working, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has you covered. If you qualify, you can receive monthly payments that help offset your inability to work at your previous job. One of the big problems with Social Security disability benefits is the long wait for approval. You might wait months and months from the time you become disabled till you get your first monthly check. Fortunately, the SSA has a way of paying you for your wait time. Read on to learn more.
The Lump Sum Payment
Once you are approved for benefits you will also be paid for the gap in time between a few important milestones. The SSA calls this lump sum payment back pay and it is meant to make up for the months that you were unable to work and were waiting for benefits to begin. If you are not approved for benefits you are not eligible for back pay, but if you appeal the denial and end up getting approved you will still get your back pay no matter how long it might take to get approved. If you ever lose your benefits once you are approved for some reason and later on have those benefits restored you might be eligible for back pay based on those missing payment months.
Take Action Quickly
There is an important date when it comes to figuring out your back pay and it's based on the day you said that you became disabled and had to leave your job. This date is known by the SSA as the alleged onset date (AOD). Once the SSA is able to verify that date by checking with your previous employer and your medical records, that date or an alternate date will become known as the established onset date (EOD). These two dates should be the same but the SSA may not agree with the date you put on your application.
Add on Five Months
Unfortunately, your back pay will be further reduced by something called the five-month waiting period. This waiting period is imposed on all filers regardless of their level of disability. During this five-month time span, you will receive no benefits and you will accrue no back pay either. Here's an example: Your EOD was June 1, 2017. You finally got approved for benefits on June 1, 2018. Your total wait time was 12 months but 5 months are deducted. This means a back pay sum equaling 7 months instead of 12 months.
If you have been denied your benefits, you can get help with appealing the ruling by contacting a Social Security attorney or law firm. Don't wait too long; you only have a limited amount of time to file the appeal.