If the Social Security Administration (SSA) awards your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim at the initial application or reconsideration appeal level, you will receive your benefits soon after the award. If your application is awarded after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which is often required, then you will have to wait longer to receive your first monthly disability payment.
Why does it take longer at the hearing level? Because of how the SSA processes allowances (i.e., awarded claims). Claims awarded at the initial application and reconsideration levels are sent to your local Social Security field office for processing. There a claims representative will take all steps necessary to get you into disability pay status.
Usually the claims representative can complete these steps quickly. You should receive your SSDI or SSI benefits the month you are entitled to receive them, which depends on the date you are found disabled. This date is called your established onset date of disability. For SSDI claims, you may have to wait a few months before going into pay status because of the five-month waiting period. SSI claims do not have a waiting period, but the monthly benefit is usually lower than the monthly benefit paid under claims for SSDI.