When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, your Date of Entitlement will play a large role in determining when your disability payments will begin. This date is the date that the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that you are eligible to begin receiving disability payments. The type of disability assistance you are applying for and the steps you took prior to applying will play a role in your specific Date of Entitlement.
If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, your Date of Entitlement will be the date that you made the SSA aware of your intent to file for benefits. If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, your Date of Entitlement will be approximately five months after the date of your disability onset. For example, if you became disabled in January and you were approved for SSDI benefits in March, your Date of Entitlement to Disability would not be until June due to the five-month waiting period that is required by the SSA. This means you would not receive your first disability payment until June, even though your disability claim was approved in March.
If you have had to endure the lengthy disability appeal process prior to being awarded disability benefits, you will probably have already met the five-month waiting period and will likely be entitled to a back payment of disability benefits. Your back pay will be calculated from the date your benefits were approved back to your Date of Entitlement to Disability, which will be dated after the five-month disability waiting period.
For SSI benefits, there is no five-month waiting period. This is because SSI is a needs-based program and the SSA understands that an applicant needs their SSI payments in order to provide for basic living expenses. Because of this, your Date of Entitlement to Disability will be calculated as the date you made your intention to file for benefits known to the SSA when filing for SSI benefits. This is why it is crucial to file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible when suffering from a long-term or permanent disability.