I’ve Been Approved. When Do I Get Paid?

February 16, 2016

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 approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, you are eager to know when your benefit payments will start.

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 (that’s still just a piece of paper, not money!), how much your monthly benefit will be, and when your payments will start . This notice will be entitled, “Notice of Award.”

SSA pays benefits in arrears meaning that 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. It is impossible to say precisely when your first check will arrive, but most of our clients receive their first check within six to eight weeks after the Notice of Award.

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 provides that “under the law, your payments cannot begin until you have been disabled for at least five full months.” So, for example, if you were found disabled as of February 15, 2015, the earliest you could begin receiving a monthly check for the SSDI benefits would be August 1, 2015. 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.

The effective date for SSI payments begins the month after the SSI application has been filed, so long as you have been found disabled as of that date.

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. Call a lawyer at Nash Disability Law for a free consultation regarding the specifics of your situation.