For many people who cannot work due to a disability, applying for benefits is an important means of covering basic expenses such as rent, food, and health care. However, applicants often do not realize that they will not receive benefits immediately after filing an application. Instead, it can take months or even years for claims to be approved, and even longer for benefits to arrive. In order to compensate applicants for the long waiting time, the Social Security Administration typically provides backpayments to recipients after they are approved. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security lawyers can help injured individuals in Massachusetts determine whether they might be eligible for backpayments and how such payments are calculated.Understanding Backpayments
Under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process, backpayments can take two forms. The first, and most common, type of backpayments is those that apply to the months between when an SSDI applicant submitted his or her application and when approval is received. Because of the extensive nature of the SSDI process, approval of applications can take a very long time, and these backpayments provide applicants with compensation for some of the time that they waited.
Additionally, applicants may also receive backpayments in the form of retroactive benefits that extend backwards to the time when the individual actually became disabled. These types of benefits apply when a recipient is disabled for several months or years before applying for benefits. In essence, these are benefits that an applicant would have received had he or she applied immediately upon becoming disabled.
Both types of benefits are paid in a lump sum form after a disability application is approved.How Are Backpayments Calculated?
In order to determine the backpayments to which you may be entitled, there are two important dates that you must establish. The first of these is your application date. This is the date that you filed your application with the SSA and is the earliest date for which you may receive the first type of backpayments. The second date is known as your date of disability. This is the date from which you can potentially receive retroactive benefits for your disability.
When you apply for disability, you will provide your date of beginning of disability in your paperwork. This is known as the alleged onset date. You will be required to substantiate this date through medical paperwork and other evidence establishing that you began to experience symptoms of disability on that date. Using this information and an independent investigation, your disability claims examiner will then determine an established onset date. This established onset date is the one that will be used to calculate any retroactive benefits. Thus, while you may allege that your disability began six months prior to your application, a disability examiner may determine that your medical condition only became disabling four months prior to your application.
Once you have used your application date and established onset date to determine total possible backpayments, you must then factor in the SSA’s waiting period. This waiting period, which is set at five months, is subtracted from your total period of backpayment eligibility. Thus, for instance, if a disability claims examiner determines that your established onset date was eight months prior to your application, you will only be entitled to backpayments for three months.Enlist a Massachusetts Lawyer When Applying for Government Benefits
If you experienced a long delay between your application for SSDI benefits and approval, or waited for some time after your disability began to apply for benefits, you may be entitled to backpayment and retroactive benefits. However, calculating the true amount that you should receive can be complicated. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C, our government benefits attorneys can sit down with Massachusetts residents to discuss the eligibility process and evaluate what backpayments they can seek. If you find that you have not received the payments you are entitled to, we can fight for your right to full retroactive compensation. Based in Boston, we assist individuals throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Contact us for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online.