If you can no longer work at your job because of a qualifying medical condition, you may be eligible for monthly payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This disability program uses the paycheck deductions from your years of working to help pay you when your illness or injury prevents you from doing your job. Often, there is a long delay between the time that you begin to be unable to work and the time you finally begin to receive benefits from the SSA. You may still be eligible to be paid for this time, with the money paid lump sum at the time of your approval. These payments, refereed to as back pay and retroactive pay, can really come in handy, but there are several potentially confusing aspects to consider. Read on to learn more about back pay and retroactive pay from the SSA.
The Application Date
Be sure to waste no time in applying for benefits as soon as you realize that you are unable to work because of a condition. It can take months and months for an approval, and your application date is one important factor when it comes time to compute your benefits. The date of your application forward is known as the "look back" date.
Retroactive payments are slightly different from back pay, but also provides you with financial compensation for your medical condition. This type of payment is meant to assist those who failed to file a SSA application when they stopped working due to a medical condition. For example, if you became unable to work in January but did not file for disability benefits until December, you may be eligible for retroactive pay for some of that time period. You must be prepared to show proof of your condition with medical records and a good, consistent record of appropriate medical care during the retroactive period.
Back pay is only counted from your application date to the date of your approval for benefits. The date that the SSA decides that you became eligible for benefits is known as the AOD, the adjusted onset date. Often, there is a difference between the date you allege that you became eligible and the date the SSA believes you became eligible. The AOD is used as the point in time for the SSA to begin investigating your disability through medical and employee records. Consequently, the AOD is the day your retroactive payments end and the day your back pay time period begins.
The Waiting Period
It should be noted that the SSA imposes a five-month waiting period before retroactive or back pay can be received. During this time, no benefits are earned or and no compensation is provided.
For more information, contact Waycaster & Allred or a similar firm.