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How far back will Social Security pay benefits if I am found disabled?

How far back Social Security goes to pay your benefits if you’re determined to be disabled depends on when you're determined to be disabled. Typically they'll go back to the date of your filing to determine your disability, but it all depends on what you tell them when you originally filed a claim. Social Security can only go back legally to pay you a year prior to your filing the claim. So even though you've been disabled for five years and you filed your claim, you can't go back the total five. Social Security can go back 12 and that's it.