By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you’ve been approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), congratulations! Getting over the final hurdle and receiving that long-awaited award letter is an enormous relief. However, many new disability recipients then wonder – when am I going to actually start receiving my monthly benefit payments?

Timing of SSDI or SSI Payments

The timing of when your SSDI or SSI payments kick in depends on a few factors:

  1. Payments For SSDI Recipients 

If you were approved for SSDI benefits, your payment start date is subject to a mandatory 5-month waiting period from your established disability onset date. Your onset date is the month when the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines you became disabled according to their requirements. For example, if the SSA says your disability began on January 15th, your first SSDI payment would be for the 6th full month after that date – which is July. Your SSDI payment for the month of July would then arrive on August 3rd, along with any retroactive back pay owed for the waiting period (January through June). No waiting period is required if you’ve been receiving SSDI for at least 5 months after updating a prior claim.

2. Payments For SSI Recipients

There is no 5-month waiting period for SSI disability payments. If approved for SSI, your benefits should begin for the month after the month you filed your application or became disabled – whichever is later. Let’s say you applied for SSI on March 10th, your application alleged you became disabled on February 1st, and you were approved in August. Your SSI benefits would be paid for the eligibility period beginning March 1st. You would receive your first payment covering March on April 1st, along with any back pay owed for subsequent months. SSI payments are made on the 1st of each month. If the 1st falls on a weekend or holiday, you’ll receive your payment on the first available date after that.

Back Pay & Retroactive Benefits

 Both SSDI and SSI allow for retroactive payments back to your established disability onset date once you are approved. However, there are time limits:

  • For SSDI, you can only receive retroactive benefits going back 1 year before your application date, even if your disability started earlier.
  • For SSI, retroactive benefits can only be paid for the 6 months prior to your application filing date.

The SSA must also deduct any workers compensation, temporary state disability benefits, or other income you may have received during the retroactive period.

Speak to a Disability Lawyer 

While these benefit payment guidelines from Social Security seem simple on their face, many nuances and potential complications around start dates and back pay can arise in individual disability cases. An experienced SSDI lawyer from Disability Advocates Group can help ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to as promptly as possible.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.