How Long Will it Take to Get Disability Benefits after I Receive an Award Notice from the Social Security Administration?

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.

Sometimes your disability benefits may be delayed because additional actions are needed to get you into pay status. For example, the SSA may need a copy of your workers’ compensation settlement paperwork or workers’ compensation award if you are receiving Virginia workers’ compensation.

It takes longer to receive disability benefits if your claim is awarded by an administrative law judge. A decision writer, not the judge, will write the decision and send it to the judge for approval. The judge will then sign off on the hearing decision and send it to the Social Security payment center for processing. This takes more time than the processing of approvals at the initial and reconsideration levels.

Frequent complaints are made about how long it takes the SSA to process disability approvals. The SSA has created initiatives to speed up the process, but these have not been as successful as hoped. Most disability applicants are facing financial hardship and need help immediately.

For more information about the SSD and SSI process, contact Newport News Social Security Disability attorney and Richmond SSD lawyer Corey Pollard. Your consultation is free. You can also read the following articles:

What is the Social Security Disability Award Letter?
Understanding the SSI Award Letter