If Approved for SSDI or SSI, When Are the Benefits Activated?

Interviewer: Once an application is approved, are the payments retroactive to when they first applied?  Or is just from the date that they were approved?

SSDI Benefits May Be Retroactively Applied from a Year of the Application Date

Elvira: The social security disability insurance is allowed to go back a whole year from the date of application if that person hasn’t worked for that whole year, because there’s a lot of people that have wait for the lengthy application process.

Or maybe they filed and didn’t continue it and let it go, so we can always use the date that they stopped working as a date of onset.  They can go back to one year, and if it takes the social security office a year to approve them, they will go back two years.

There Is a Five Month Exemption Term on the Retroactive Payments

On that social security disability insurance, though, even if a person is approved and they do go back two years, for the back pay, they do not pay the first five months.  If they tell you you’re approved in January of 2010, well, your payments are not going to start until May of 2010.  The government has it set that way.  I don’t know why, but they don’t pay you for the first five months.

SSI Benefits Are Paid from the Date of Application and Is Not Retroactively Applied

Now, on the SSI, on the one that’s based on need, that one they do not go back a year.  They can only pay you from the date of application.  Of course they will go back.  You also get retroactive payments from the date you applied.

For SSDI Benefits, You Will Receive One Retroactive Lump Sum Payment and Monthly Benefits Thereafter

Interviewer: They’ll receive a lump sum payment for any retroactive benefits and then from there should they expect a monthly payment?

Elvira: A monthly payment.  Yes.

Elvira: They’ll receive a monthly payment and on the supplemental security income, SSI, they also will receive a monthly payment and then they’ll get the Medicaid card.  The Medicaid card, of course, will help them pay for doctor visits and medication.  But the only people that get the Medicaid card are the ones that qualify for that SSI.

SSI Claimants Will Receive a Medicaid Card; SSDI Claimants a Medicare Card 

If it was determined that you were over income or over resource, you do not get the Medicaid card.  Individuals that receive social security disability insurance will get the Medicare card.  But, they will not get the Medicare card until two years and five months from the date they were approved.

SSDI-Eligible Individuals Will Not Receive the Medicare Card for 2 Years and Five Months from the Date They begin to Receive Payments

On the SSI individuals will get the Medicaid card the date of application, when they applied, but for those getting SSDI, they will not get the Medicare card until two years and five months from when they begin receiving payments.

Jeanne: One of the benefits for social security is that you get either the Medicaid or the Medicare to help with your treatments.  One thing we see an awful lot of is people that can no longer work for whatever their condition is, and through this whole process they’re struggling with medical bills.

Maybe there’s another adult in the household that’s working, whether they’re married or living with their parents or their brother, but they go through this long period of time and they may be getting full treatment for their condition or they may just be getting a maintenance treatment.  A lot of indigent care places will dispense some pills to manage pain, but they won’t actually fix what’s wrong with you.

Once on Disability Benefits, an Individual Can Seek Full Medical Treatment for His or Her Conditions through Either Medicare or Medicaid

Once somebody’s on disability, if they get the medical insurance that comes with it, they can seek better quality of care.