How Long Does It Take To Receive Back Pay?

Picture of a woman reading a check

What is SSD Back Pay?

Social Security Disability (SSD) back pay are the benefits you were entitled to as you filed for Social Security Disability benefits, but were either initially denied or there was a delay in approval by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In most cases, it begins when someone files an appeal following a letter of SSD benefits denial. If you, a friend or family member have been denied SSDI and are in the process of filing an appeal, it is important to keep the following information in mind.

When Would I Start Accumulating Back Pay?

Your back pay would begin at the established onset date (EOD) of your disability, when you are officially deemed disabled and consequently apply for benefits. Your EOD, according to the SSA, determines when your disability began. It is important to note that the SSA only counts full calendar months, so if you become disabled in the middle of one month, your EOD does not start until the next month.

This is when your back pay starts to accumulate, and if you are denied SSD benefits, it continues in the appeals process. Once you have been approved for SSD, you should expect your regular SSD payments to arrive in five months. On the other hand,, the back pay will arrive a few months after in a one-time, lump sum payment, separate from your usual monthly deposit. 

Is There a Limit to How Much Back Pay I Can Receive? 

It’s  important to note that the five-month waiting period determines if you receive back pay. If your application is approved in less than 5 month, you would not qualify for SSD back pay. Therefore, if the time between your established onset date and your approval is 10 months, you are only entitled to 5 months of back pay. 

There is a 12-month cap for the back pay you can receive, which means that your past due SSD benefits can only go back a year. This means that you cannot receive back pay benefits for more than 12 months. 

When Will I Receive My Back Pay?

If you’re filing an appeal after being denied SSD, it is important to have patience when waiting for your back pay. The appeal process could take several months, which includes a hearing in front of an administrative judge. Once you have been approved for SSD benefits, you should expect to wait five more months before you start seeing SSD payments coming in, and about 3-5 months for the back pay after the initial check.  

We Advocate For You

At the Disability Attorneys of Michigan, we specialize in one thing and one thing only: Social Security Disability. Have you or a loved one been wrongfully denied social security disability benefits, or are not receiving the checks and back pay to which they are entitled? Call our office toll free at 800-949-2900 or submit a form on our website for a free consultation of your case today.


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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.