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SSDI Monthly Payments And Backpay

SSDI Monthly Payments and Backpay

Almost always, the first question asked after a successful claim is: “When will I get paid?” 

When your SSDI claim is approved, you will begin to receive monthly payments, and in some cases, back pay -But these payouts may not be immediate. 

Below we’ll break down how your monthly benefit amount is determined, how soon you will begin receiving payments after a successful claim, and in what cases you can expect to earn back pay. 

How Much Will My SSDI Benefit Be?

Unlike VA benefits, your Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefit amount is calculated based on your prior income, not the severity of your disability. Because of this, the monthly SSDI amount claimants are eligible to receive varies from person to person.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at your Averaged Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and your Primary Insurance Amounts (PIA). They will use these numbers to determine your benefit amount. The formula they use to calculate this amount is complicated, but they can provide you with an estimate if you contact them directly.

In 2024, the average SSDI payment is $1,537. The maximum amount that you can earn is $3,822.

When Will My Monthly Disability Payments Begin?

When your benefits start is dependent on a few factors, one of them being how long it took for you to receive a favorable decision. 

With all SSDI claims, there is a five month waiting period for benefits. The five months begin on the day your disability starts, and on the sixth full month after this date, you can receive benefits. 

For example, if your disability began January 1st, your payment will be in July and you will receive your first check in August. 

When calculating the date you can begin receiving payments, it’s important to note that the day your disability starts is not the day you applied for benefits. The day your disability began, often called your onset date, is the day that your condition made it impossible for you to work above the substantial gainful amount (SGA).  

See: What is Substantial Gainful Activity? SGA Explained.

This date could be weeks, or even months, before you filed for SSDI. 

In your SSDI application, you are asked what date you became disabled. Your onset date is determined officially by the SSA, after they review your application. They may accept the date that you provided, or choose a different date. They will base the date on the medical evidence in your case. 

In most cases, the 5 month waiting period has passed well before a claimant is approved for benefits, so any payments would not be delayed due to this factor. 

However, even if you are passed the 5 month period, you will not begin receiving your benefits immediately after approval.  

After your approval, you will get a letter in the mail telling you:

-What conditions you were approved for

-Your onset date

-Your monthly benefit amount

-And in some cases, your back pay amount.

In general, you can expect your first check to come 30 to 120 days after you receive this letter. 

How is Back Pay Calculated, and How Much Could I Earn?

You can receive back pay for the time period between the date you applied for SSDI and the date you are approved for benefits. Back pay essentially is meant to cover the months that you missed payments. 

Retroactive benefits can also be received. These benefits would cover the time period between your onset date and when you submitted your application for SSDI. 

These payments are called retroactive because they come from the months that you were disabled, but did not start a claim. Therefore, they are earned retroactively. 

How much you can receive in back pay is dependent on:

-When you became disabled.

-When you applied for disability.

-And, when you were finally approved for benefits. 

The maximum SSDI will pay in retroactive benefits is 12 months. This rule is set, regardless of how long you may have been disabled prior to applying for benefits. You cannot get benefits for months before your onset date. 

How Does the SSA Send Back Payments?

Any back payments or retroactive benefits you receive is paid in one lump sum. Typically, this entire amount is sent at once. 

This payment may be received at the same time you get your first monthly disability check. Although, this is not guaranteed.

When Will I Get My Monthly Check?

When you receive your monthly SSDI payment is determined based on your birthday. 

-If your birthday is between the 1st and 10th, you receive your SSDI payments on the second Wednesday of each month. 

-If your birthday is between the 11th and 20th, you will receive your SSDI payments on the third Wednesday of each month. 

-And, if your birthday is between the 21st and 31st, you will receive your SSDI payments on the fourth Wednesday of each month. 

Exceptions: If you were approved for ssdi before May 1st 1997, you will receive your benefits on the 3rd of every month.

See: Each SSDI Payment Date for 2024

How a Disability Lawyer Can Help

Hiring legal representation can have an impact more than just the outcome of your claim. In some cases, it can also impact the amount of backpay you receive. 

A skilled disability attorney may be able to review your claim, onset dates, and evidence to maximize the amount of back payment you earn. 

Looking for representation?

Victory Disability is a nationwide firm that specializes in SSDI. We have helped thousands of individuals earn the benefits they deserve. There is no fee unless your case is won, no exceptions. To speak with one of our SSDI specialists today, call 888-474-1025.