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How to apply for retroactive ssi or ssd benefits?

Moreno Valley, CA |

Was approved last month for ssd and want my retroactive pay going back 12 months? How do I apply for that?

Was told that back pay and retroactive pay are two different things. Filed in 11/09 , was approved in 1/ 2012 and was told that I can be paid up to 12 months prior to my inital filling date. Please explain how that works.

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Attorney answers 3


Do you have a representative, if so you need to speak with him or her. Your rep would be in the best position to answer your questions with specifics based on the facts in your case.

In general, it all depends on your onset date of disability (the date you became disabled.) Since Social Security has said that you have been awarded benefits, then that notice of award should include the date they say your disability began. Based on your application and / or any amendments you may have made to it between the protected filing date and the date of award, the agency starts by looking at your 'alleged onset date'. So what date did you tell them you became disabled?

If you want disability benefits going back 12 months before your date of application (let's say for example this date of application is Nov. 15, 2009), then you must have alleged an onset date of July 1, 2008 or earlier to get 12 full months of SSD benefits based on the months before your 11/2009 application date because there is a five full months waiting period from the date of onset before they start paying benefits (so the five waiting months would be July - Nov 2008, then payments could start Dec. 2008).

There is no such retroactive award for SSI, the earliest SSI can start is the first full month after the month in which you apply (in this example December 2009).

If the notice of award using some other date, you can appeal that notice if you are still within the allowed timeframe (usually about 60 days) - but your appeal is weaker if you did not allege the 2008 date in your original application, but want to change it now after the approval to get more benefits. Also, you put your entire award of benefits at risk by allowing them to re-examine their decision to award benefits - so you could end up getting denied for everything.

Talk to an attorney, either the one you have or if you have not had one then go find one.

Contact NOSSCR to find a Social Security attorney in your area, look for one offering a free no-obligation initial consultation (most do) then meet with one or more and sign up with one you are comfortable with.

NOSSCR Lawyer Referral Service - For help in finding attorney representation, contact its lawyer referral service during Eastern business hours:


Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.



They declared me disabled as of 10 /2007 and I got a notice of computation and it says nothing about the retroactive payments. Why? I can't afford a lawyer at this time. I just want to know how to ask for those benefits.

Brian S Wayson

Brian S Wayson


They only way to 'ask" for them if they are not included in your notice of award, is to appeal the decision. Only you can decide if the 12 months of payments are worth hiring an attorney, whose fee would be limited to the lesser of 25% or $6000 of any recovery made on your behalf. Otherwise call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask them about those months of benefits. Or 'google' it, nobody can teach you how to make an appeal argument here via Avvo.


My colleague's answers to your question and comment are exactly correct.

SSD benefits are supposed to be aitomatically calculated, but it can take 4 to 6 months after regular monthly benefits are started before SSA processes back due or retroactive benefits due a client. Sometimes the delay is due to processing of SSI, or if your file is flagged for back due child support. Sometimes the delays are longer if you have a workers' compensation claim and they need to get benefit information about workers' comp money paid. Sometimes the delays are due to other benefits being figure out first - like children's auxilliary benefits..

I concur that Avvo is not the place to try and teach someone how to do an appeal - I cannot even tell from the information you have given if an appeal is necessary. If you had a lawyer, talk to that lawyer. If you need a lawyer, contact your local leagal aid office or, as Mr. Wayson, contact a private lawyer through NOSSCR.

Good luck toyou!

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.


What you did not say was the date you were found disabled by the SSA. Without that information, no one can say how far back your retroactive pay will extend.

(1) Social Security disability retroactive pay can go back 12 months prior to your date of application but this depends upon the date you were found disabled. In order to get the full 12 months you would have to be fouind disabled more than 17 months prior to your date of application (12 months plus the 5 month waiting period).

(2) If you were approved last month with a disability date of "last month" there will be no retroactive benefits due to the 5 month waiting period.

(3) If you disagree with the date of disability found by the SSA you can appeal.

In summary, you would need to clarify your question in order to get better advice.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.

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