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Is An SSD Award Retroactive to The Date That I First Became Disabled?

SSD form

Everyone knows there is a huge backlog of cases for virtually any government program, and Social Security Disability (SSD) is no exception to this general rule. At any one time, there may be hundreds of thousands or even millions of applicants ahead of you who are waiting for the processing of their claims and an eventual decision on their application for benefits under the SSD program. This brings up a very pressing question/concern for those who are disabled and unable to work due to a medical condition. If you become disabled on Day 1, but you do not apply for SSD benefits until Day 200 because it took you time to get your personal situation in order enough to learn that you might be eligible for SSD benefits and to find an experienced attorney to assist you in preparing your application, then what happens for that period of time that you were waiting for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a decision on your application? Are you left to fend for yourself or can you expect to receive some sort of compensation for all the time that you were waiting to receive a decision from the SSA on your application for benefits? Thankfully, in order to account for the natural delay between when your disability first occurs and when your claim for SSD benefits is eventually processed and approved, a successful applicant is entitled to compensation that is retroactive to the date he or she is first deemed to have become disabled.

The Time Lag Between Applying for SSD Benefits and Being Approved For Benefits

There is a natural lag time between when you first become disabled, when you apply for SSD benefits based on that disability, when that application is ultimately processed and you are eventually approved for benefits under the SSD program. None of those delays is the fault of the disabled person. SSA has limited numbers of staff members and it often takes time for the SSA to ultimately decide whether or not a particular applicant meets the requirements to receive SSD benefits based on his or her disability. It may take months before a staff member even looks at your application or, even once a staff member has actually started looking at your application, it may take weeks of back and forth between SSA staff members as to whether you fit the criteria set forth for qualifying for SSD benefits. However, during this entire time that a disabled person may be waiting to hear from the SSA as to whether his or her application for benefits has been approved, the person might be without income and therefore may be living off savings, or worse maxing out his or her credit cards or borrowing money from family or friends in order to afford a place to stay, food to eat and all the other basic necessities of life.

Given this, it would be unfair to penalize the SSD applicant for any delay in processing his or her SSD application where that delay is not his or her fault. Therefore, the SSD program has rules in place that account for this natural period of delay in between when someone first applies for SSD benefits and if and when the application is approved and the person begins to receive benefits. Under SSD rules, when you initially apply for benefits, you list a disability onset date. This is the date that you contend you first became disabled and unable to work according to the rules for SSD set forth by SSA for the program.

SSD Benefits Are Retroactive to the Date of Disability Onset If Your SSD Application is Approved

If you are ultimately approved for SSD benefits, the benefits are payable retroactively from your disability onset date forward. Therefore, if it takes multiple rounds of appeals or even re-applying before you are finally approved for SSD benefits, then you would be entitled to benefits from your disability onset date forward once your application finally has been approved. Given that it may take until day 500 after your disability for you to be approved, SSA rules provide that any award of benefits is retroactive to your disability onset date. Therefore, if you ultimately approved for SSD benefits on Day 500, your first payment of benefits likely will also include an often sizeable amount to account for past-due benefits from your date of disability onset through the date you are eventually approved for benefits (i.e. Day 1 to Day 500 in this example).

Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining if you qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.