As we noted in our previous blog post (How Social Security Attorney Fees Are Calculated), the fee a Social Security attorney receives depends on the amount of Social Security back pay benefits they are able to help you secure.
Back Pay benefits (back due benefits) are often confusing. This is especially true if you have both a Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) Claim and a Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) Claim open. This post will hopefully explain what these benefits are, and how they are calculated.
Social Security Back Pay Benefits Onset Date
The amount of back due benefits owed to you depends on your “onset date”. The onset date is the first day the Social Security Administration determines you are disabled. That date differs sometimes, depending on whether you have a claim for SSDI or SSI.
SSDI Onset Date
For SSDI claims, your alleged onset date could be as early as your last day worked.
Under the Social Security Disability program, you cannot work and receive benefits. As such, your alleged onset date cannot be any time prior to when you stopped working due to your medical conditions.
However, if you have an attorney, your attorney will discuss with you when your alleged onset date should be. In Social Security claims, it is important for your medical records to support your onset date.
It is tough to have an onset date three months prior to the first time you sought medical treatment. The Social Security Administration will have a problem with this. They will wonder why you were unable to work and in such pain, if you did not seek medical treatment for three months.
SSI Onset Date
For SSI claims, your alleged onset date cannot be earlier than your date of application. Therefore, it is important to file an application for SSI as soon as you feel your disabled and unable to work anymore.
How back pay benefits are calculated?
Back due benefits are benefits due to you, starting from your onset date.
Note – this could differ from the date you have alleged, or the date on which you applied for SSI. Your actual onset date is up to the Social Security Administration. They usually base this on medical records.
The back pay benefits end when you start to receive your monthly disability benefits. If you have to wait a long time for your disability claim approval, your back due benefits will be larger than if you are approved almost immediately.