Understanding SSDI: Important Pay Dates and Details

If you are suffering from a medical or mental condition that keeps you from working, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could have a program to help you make ends meet. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays former workers based on their income from previous jobs. Read on and find out more about a few confusing aspects of your claim that involve dates, retroactive pay, and back pay. 

Date of Last Insurance (DLI)

The SSA considers the work you do and the deductions that go to your Social Security account to be insurance. Therefore, your last day of work for which you earned income is the last day of insurance. The DLI is important because your benefits can begin to accrue as soon as you stop working – although, you may not be paid for them until you are approved for benefits. Be sure you apply for benefits as soon as you can after stopping work. It can take the SSA many months to process the application.

If You Wait to File

If you wait for a few months and then file your application, you could be eligible for retroactive pay. This sort of pay covers the gap between your last day of work and your application date. The SSA provides this form of payment to those who would have been covered for benefits if they had filed earlier.

Once You File

Your application date is another important date because you can get back pay if your application is approved. Back pay begins to accrue on the date you apply and ends once your benefits are approved. For example, if you apply for benefits in January and don't get approved until December, you may be paid for those months all at once. However, it's important for filers to understand another confusing aspect of SSDI benefits – the five-month waiting period. Unfortunately, applicants who must wait for their benefits to be approved must deduct five months from the wait time to arrive at their back pay amount. If they applied in January and their benefits were approved in September, they would only be paid for four months of back pay rather than nine because of the five-month waiting period.

Finally, don't be surprised when your application for SSDI is turned down. Many applicants receive the same denial letter all the time. Your first move is to locate a Social Security lawyer and have them handle your appeal case. That way, you can take care of your medical condition and let the lawyer deal with the SSA for you. Speak to a Social Security lawyer about your disability and get the benefits you need at the hearing.