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How long does it take to get a disability check after I have been approved?
The process of applying and being approved for Social Security benefits often proves to be long and frustrating. When you are finally approved for SSI, you understandably want to get your first check as soon as possible. However, waiting for that first check can be a trying experience in itself if you are not aware of the timeline for receiving your initial SSI payment. Rather than growing frustrated and angry, you can remain patient while awaiting your first check by understanding how these benefits are paid to recipients.
First Payment after Approval
The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays in arrears, which means that each check you receive will essentially be for the prior month. Moreover, the SSA's policy for these benefits includes a six-month waiting period after you are determined to have suffered your disability.
With that, it could be at least six months, if not longer, before you get your first check (assuming that your case is approved immediately after you submit your application). For example, if you became disabled on January 1, you may not receive your first check until June 1 or later.
Eligibility Requirements for Back Pay
However, in many cases, your application will be pending in court longer than the initial waiting period established by the SSA. In many circumstances, the SSA ends up owing people back pay along with that first check to which they are entitled. If your case remains in court longer than the waiting period, you could be eligible for months' or years' worth of back payments. The SSA will pay you from the six-month point of your disability.
For example, if you were disabled on January 1, but your case was not approved until June 1 the following year, you would receive an entire year's worth of back pay from the Social Security Administration.
Banking Timelines for Crediting Deposits
The SSA now requires recipients to sign up for direct deposit of their benefits. You can no longer opt to receive a paper check. With that, your first check's arrival could also be dependent on your bank's timeline for crediting deposits to your account. If the SSA deposits your money on a federal holiday, it may not be credited to your account until the next business day.
Likewise, if your bank does not clear deposits until 9 a.m., you may have to wait for your money to be available to you, even if the SSA deposited the money at midnight. Your bank could play a significant role in how quickly your benefits are made available to you the first time you receive a check and every time after that.
Keeping Your Attorney on Retainer
Many people dismiss their attorney after they have been awarded with their SSI benefits. However, until you actually receive that first check, you should keep your lawyer on retainer. If, for some reason, your initial deposit is delayed or caught up in bureaucratic paperwork, your attorney can clear up the confusion and help you get your money faster. Until you start receiving regular payments, you should maintain your relationship with your attorney.
Waiting for your first SSI check can be nerve-wracking. However, you can keep your patience and anticipate your money coming to you soon by knowing how Social Security benefits are paid out to newly approved applicants.