I’ve Been Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits. When Can I Expect My First Payment?

It will try your patience. The benefits you have earned under the Social Security Disability (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) program can take anywhere from two months to two years (and sometimes more) to be approved. It is only natural then, that once you have been okayed for SSDI or SSI benefits, you are eager to know when your benefits payments will start.

Most People Receive Their First Check 4-6 Weeks After Approval

Only a relative few cases are approved within a few months. Most applicants have their initial claim denied and must go through a lengthy appeals process to obtain their benefits. When your claim is finally approved you will receive a notice in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA) letting you know that you are eligible to begin receiving payments, how much your monthly benefit will be, and when your payments will start. SSA pays benefits in arrears, which means they are paid in the month following the month for which they are due. For example, you would receive your check for July benefits in August. While it is impossible to say precisely when your first check will arrive, most of our clients receive their first check within four to six weeks after being approved.

For Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), there is a mandatory five-month waiting period from the date that Social Security determines your disability began (your “onset date”) to when your monthly payments can start. The Social Security Administration advises that “under the law, your payments cannot begin until you have been disabled for at least five full months. Payments usually start with your sixth month of disability.” So, for example, if you suffered a disabling injury in February the earliest you could begin receiving a monthly check would be August. However, since it typically takes so long to get approved, the five-month waiting period will probably be long over by the time you’re approved for benefits.

A Long Approval Process May Qualify You For Back Pay

A long delay in waiting for approval will likely mean that once you are approved you will be awarded disability back pay. If you are awarded back pay, you may have a longer wait for that check. Back pay has its own formulas and complexities.

As you might expect, there are additional rules, exceptions and conditions that affect when you can expect your benefit payments to begin and how much you are entitled to. You may wish to speak to us at Cuddigan Law about the specifics of your situation.

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience
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