When Will I receive my disability benefits?

The application and approval process for Social Security Disability benefits can take months, or even years in some cases. So when you finally receive your letter of approval from the Social Security Administration, how long does it take to receive your first check?

The short answer is that this depends largely on which program – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – you qualified for.

When you are approved for SSI, you will begin receiving payments right away. SSI payments are sent on the first of each month, unless the first is a Sunday, in which case you will receive it the last non-holiday weekday before that day.

SSDI payments are processed a bit differently. There is a five-month waiting period between the onset of your disability and when you begin receiving payments – though usually, because the application process is so lengthy, the waiting period is up before or around when you receive approval.

SSDI payments are received depending on the recipient’s birthday. Beneficiaries born between the first and 10th of the month will be receive their checks on the second Wednesday of the month. Beneficiaries born between the 11th and 20th of the month will receive payments on the third Wednesday of the month. Finally, beneficiaries whose birthdays span from the 21st to the end of the month receive payments on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

In general, payments received are intended to cover the previous month. A check received on April 1 is intended to be the month of March. Because of the SSDI waiting period and the time it takes to qualify for either program, you are generally eligible to receive back pay as well. Back pay covers the onset date of your disability for SSDI, and for SSI, back pay begins the month after your application date.