When Will I Start Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

Nov 29, 2022


If you can no longer work because you are disabled, the money starts running out fast. You no longer have a paycheck coming it, but you still have expenses going out. You have cut back as much as you can, but you are still running out of money. Luckily, you were approved for Social Security Disability. Knowing when your Social Security Disability payments will start and how to get them coming as soon as possible can be very beneficial.

Step One: Apply

This is kind of obvious, but you will never get Social Security Disability benefits if you do not apply. Your doctors can not apply for you and the government does not start a case for you either. You must apply yourself or have a representative apply for you. If you do not know how to apply, check out our earlier blog: How to Apply for Social Security Disability.

Different Programs Means Different Timelines

To determine when your payments will start, you first need to know which of the two disability programs you qualified for. The most common program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This is the program used when you worked for most of your life before you became disabled. The other program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is for people that did not have enough work history to get SSDI when they became disabled. To learn more about the two programs, read our earlier blog: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

When Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Payments Start

If you were approved for SSDI, then payments start five months after your “Onset Date”. Your onset date is the date you became disabled. If your disability was due to a sudden accident, then the day of the accident is likely your onset date. If your disability was due to your health slowly worsening, then the onset date will be determined by review of your medical records and application papers. There are exceptions to the five-month waiting period, but they are rare. Chances are you will get back pay because you did not apply, or were not approved, within the first five months of your onset date. Social Security will give you back pay, but they will not do more than 12 months from the date you applied for Social Security Disability. That said, applying sooner will increase your chances of receiving your full back pay.

When Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payments Start

If you were approved for SSI, then payments start one month after you filed your application. If your application did not get approved for many months, you will get back pay, but only to that one-month mark after you applied. Also, there is a program called “Presumptively Disabled, where your impairment is so bad that Social Security assumes you will be approved. If this applies to your case, then you can get benefits for up to 6 months while your application is being reviewed.


At Pedersen Law Office, LLC we understand how confusing Social Security Disability can be; that is why we offer free consults. We will discuss your application and disability and help you through the entire process. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

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