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Once approved, when do Social Security Disability benefits start?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2020 | Social Security Disability

You may have heard that it takes a long time to get Social Security Disability benefits. This is, unfortunately, true in many cases. The process of determining that you have a qualifying, permanent disability can be long. If your claim is initially denied, you can ask for a reconsideration and, if necessary, appeal. That takes more time.

Once your benefits are approved, however, there could be an additional delay. This is because SSD benefits begin in the sixth full month after the date your disability began.

This delay may not affect you at all, depending on how long it takes to process your claim. This is because the Social Security Administration is likely to find that your disability started at or even before the date you applied for benefits. The six-month delay is counted from the date your disability started, as found by the administration.

Suppose you became disabled on June 15, 2018. You apply for SSD the following month. After several months, the administration approves your claim and finds that you did indeed become disabled on June 15, 2018. You would be eligible for benefits in your sixth full month of disability, or December 2018.

Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due, so you would, in theory, receive your first check in January 2019.

But suppose you didn’t get approved for benefits until January 2019. You would still be due benefits beginning December 2018. The Social Security Administration would send you a check for the year’s worth of benefits that you haven’t yet received.

Please note that this hypothetical situation depends on the Social Security Administration finding that your disability did begin on June 15, 2018.

If the administration finds that you were disabled before you applied, you could receive retroactive benefits. If it takes more than five months to approve your application, you could receive a lump-sum payment for benefits going back to your date of disability; however, you cannot be paid prior to 12 months from the application date.

If you have questions about retroactive benefits or lump sum payments, talk to an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.