California residents who appealed a denial of Social Security disability benefits and were then approved may be awarded back benefits. An established date of onset will be determined by the disability examiner. This date will be used by the Social Security Administration as the date on which the disability is determined to have begun.

However, there are some factors can that impact how back disability benefits may be awarded. One factor is the distinct differences between the SSI disability and Social Security disability programs. Another factor is whether the claim approval took place during the application stage, the reconsideration stage or the disability hearing stage.

In cases in which the claimant has filed for SSI disability, benefits dated back to when the disability application was filed will be paid. In cases in which SSD benefits were filed for, the benefits can also be paid back to the date the claim was filed; however, this is contingent on whether the medical evidence will verify the disability onset date.

For the most part, the manner in which a claim is handled at the disability hearing level and at the initial claim or reconsideration appeal stages is very similar. Work activity and medical records are used as a basis for determining if claimants can return to their previous work or pursue some other type of gainful employment. One of the most significant differences is that at the hearing stage, the administrative law judges can opt to reopen previous denial for claimants who have been denied multiple times on separate claims.

An attorney who practices Social Security Disability law may guide clients through the initial filing or appeals processes. Assistance may be provided with optioning any necessary paperwork. The attorney might also advocate on behalf of claimants at disability hearings.