For anyone unable to work at their job due to a serious condition, the Social Security Disability program provides monetary benefits if you qualify. This Social Security program allows people with qualifying conditions to get back some of the money that has been taken out of their paycheck for many years. You can be eligible for benefits beginning at a specified time, but if you don't begin receiving those benefits right away you are eligible for retroactive and/or back pay. For more information, read on.
Your Application Date
Social Security can take a very long time to approve and begin paying claims, so file your application as soon as possible. From the date of your application, the time begins to toll and will become the "look back" time for computing your benefits if you are approved.
Your Retroactive Payments
If you had to stop work for a period of time due to your condition, but did not file an application for benefits at that time, you may be eligible for retroactive payments. Retroactive pay is not the same as back pay. You will need to show that your condition was so severe that you were unable to work during that time, using medical records as evidence. Make sure that you are receiving professional medical or mental health care at all times and that you are keeping all evidence of that care for proof.
Your Back Pay
Back pay is counted from the date of your application onward to your approval date, unlike retroactive payments which can cover dates before you even applied up to your approval date. The date that the Social Security Administration determines to be the day that your condition began is called the alleged onset date (AOD). This date is determined using medical record evidence and employee records. The AOD is the date that your retroactive payments end and your back pay begins.
The Waiting Period
Before you can begin receiving either retroactive or back pay, you must go through a five-month waiting period. For example, if you were found to have had an AOD of January 1st, 2016 you would begin receiving benefits on June 1st, 2016. It's important to note that you are not eligible to receive back pay for the five-month waiting period.
Being approved for Social Security Disability can be a lengthy process, and many times your initial application is turned down. Additionally, this process can confusing and complicated. Contact a Social Security attorney, like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S., for assistance in getting your denial appealed and to get you the benefits that you have earned, need and deserve.