Social Security Disability Retroactive Pay and Back PayYou may have the right to back pay and retroactive benefits once your Social Security disability application is approved, and these payments can be significant. It is up to you, however, to protect your rights by knowing what payments are available to you and how to get the money that you deserve with the help of a Social Security disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Back Pay

There is often a significant backlog in Social Security Administration offices that delays a decision on individual Social Security disability applications. While there is a five-month waiting period during which you are not entitled to benefits, you may receive back pay benefits for any time between when you initially filed your application and when your application is ultimately approved, with the exception of those five months. For example, if seven months passed between the time that you filed your Social Security disability application and the time that you were found eligible for benefits—then you may be entitled to back pay for two months (or seven months less five months of wait time).

Social Security Disability Retroactive Pay

In addition to the back pay described above, you may be eligible for retroactive benefits once your Social Security disability application is approved. Retroactive pay is paid from the alleged onset date of your disability (rather than from the date on which you filed your Social Security disability application) until the time that your application is approved. Retroactive Social Security disability benefits can easily result in thousands of dollars and it is, therefore, important that you know about your right to fair retroactive compensation.

Before you apply for Social Security disability retroactive pay, it is important to know:

  • Your alleged onset date. The “alleged onset date” is the date you claim to have become unable to work. This date is required information on your initial application. It is the date that will be used to calculate your retroactive benefits, unless the Social Security Administration disputes it.

  • The Social Security Administration must approve your alleged onset date before you can receive retroactive benefits. A qualified attorney can help you prove your alleged onset date is correct and fight to get these important benefits approved.

  • What happens if the Social Security Administration does not agree with your alleged onset date. If the Social Security Administration does not agree with the date that you claim as your alleged onset date, then it can establish an onset date different from the one you submitted. In order to do this, the Social Security Administration must prove through medical evidence that your date is incorrect. If they can do so, you will be given what is called an “established onset date,” which generally cuts the amounts of back pay you will receive. 

A lawyer can help you submit strong documentation about your onset date and ask for a reconsideration of an established onset date if it is incorrect.

Take Steps to Protect Your Back Pay and Retroactive Pay Today

Once you are approved for Social Security disability back pay or retroactive pay, then you will typically receive the money that is owed to you in one lump sum unless you are also eligible for Supplemental Security Income in which case the rules differ. No interest will be paid on back pay or retroactive pay benefits.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Natick, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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