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Am I Eligible For A Lump Sum Disability Payment?

Young woman on wheelchair holding money support from for disability allowance

Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be an excruciatingly slow process. Applicants can be left without a paycheck and with mounting medical bills while they wait for a decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA). For that reason, many applicants wonder if they can get their benefits in the form of a lump sum payment to make up for lost time and avoid future possible delays. Many applicants who are ultimately approved for SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may, in fact, be eligible for a lump sum payment at least covering backpay for benefits that would have been paid during the approval process. Continue reading to learn about lump-sum SSDI and SSI payments. Reach out to a dedicated Social Security Disability benefits attorney for help obtaining SSI or SSDI benefits or responding to a Social Security denial.

Lump-Sum SSDI Payments

When you are approved for SSDI benefits, you are typically entitled to backpay back to your initial application date. If the SSA determines you are eligible for SSDI back pay, the back pay will typically be issued in the form of a lump sum payment. The amount of your back pay will be determined by the SSA.

SSDI applicants may also be entitled to retroactive payments, meaning payments for coverage between the date you became disabled and the date you applied for benefits. The SSA will look to when your disability caused you to be unable to work; that date is known as the established onset date (EOD).

To be eligible for retroactive SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate that you were disabled and unable to work at least five months before your application date. The five-month limitation is based on the five-month waiting period for SSDI applicants, similar to the “elimination period” in private long-term disability policies. Retroactive benefits and backpay for SSDI benefits are usually paid as a lump sum.

Lump-Sum SSI Payments

Similarly, applicants who are approved for SSI disability benefits are typically entitled to backpay covering the time between when the applicant applied and when the application was approved by the SSA. If the amount of backpay owed is small, then the backpay is typically paid as a lump sum. If the SSA owes a very substantial amount to the applicant in SSI backpay, the payments might come in several smaller installment payments. Typically, the SSA will pay SSI benefits in installments if the amount of backpay owed is more than three times the maximum monthly SSI monthly benefit amount (before deductions for income or support).

If the payments are too large for a lump sum, they will generally be paid in three separate installments at six-month intervals. The first two payments will not exceed three times the maximum monthly benefit, and the third payment will include everything that remains. There are certain exceptions to the limitations on the first two payments, such as if the benefits are necessary to pay for housing, necessary medical costs, or debts relating to household necessities. Medical necessities might even include things like a car, cell phone, or computer if used in connection with Social Security benefits and/or medical care.

Additionally, if the applicant is not expected to live for more than twelve months, or if the applicant later becomes ineligible for SSI after approval, then they could receive back pay in one lump sum. Talk to your SSI/SSDI attorney to find out if you are eligible for SSI backpay as a lump sum or, if not, how to maximize the amount of each installment payment.

Trusted Help With Your California Disability Benefits Claims

For help collecting disability benefits in southern California or statewide, call the experienced and thorough Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSD/SSI) attorneys Drake & Drake at 818-624-4695.

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