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How Long Does It Take to Get Paid Disability Benefits?

So, you’ve waited more than a year for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, waited a few more weeks for a decision, and have finally been approved for benefits.

All that backpay should be in your account any day now, right? Well, maybe, but as with many things involving Social Security, exactly how long it takes to actually receive your backpay and being receiving monthly benefits depends on several factors that are often outside of the control of either a claimant or attorney.

The first thing that can cause an issue with backpay is simply location. Payments are made by local district offices, and some just work more quickly than others. I’ve had some claimants receive their backpay within a couple weeks of receiving a favorable decision from a judge. In other areas, it can take months and months to start receiving a backpay, and that’s without any other issues that can delay backpay.

One thing that often causes delays in cases involving a supplemental security income claim is the PERC interview. If you have an SSI claim, Social Security will want to speak with you to see if you are working and where are you are living, as these things will impact your backpay and monthly benefit. But Social Security can often be difficult to reach to complete this interview, sometimes leading to lengthy delays in backpay.

Other times, unusual procedural issues can impact backpay. Social Security may discover earnings that impact eligibility, or an old worker’s comp claim can cause a delay since worker’s compensation payments offset Social Security benefits. Usually, these issues can be handled fairly quickly, but if you’re unfamiliar with how Social Security operates, they can also lead to substantial delays before you being to receive benefits.


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