How Long Does It Take to Get Disability Check After Approval

So, you’ve finally done what many people haven’t: get your disability claim approved. Great job! But getting approved for disability is not yet the end of your journey. On the contrary, it is just the start of a long wait before you finally receive your first disability check.


The approval process when filing for Social Security disability benefits can take a while. Most claims would require a disability hearing before it gets approved. But depending on the circumstances of your claim and your evidence, sometimes a hearing may not be necessary. After they’ve decided, the SSA will send you an approval notice informing you about it. They will then forward your claim for payment processing.             

Due to the volume of claims the SSA has to process, this can take months. But even if your disability checks take months, your disability benefits will start on the day you got disabled (onset date). The benefits you should have received from your onset date to your first check will be computed as part of your back pay.


It takes 1 to 2 months to get your disability check after your Social Security disability claim is approved. In some cases, it can take longer. Back payments, however, usually arrive much later. SSI payments, on the other hand, begin right away. It’s typically sent on the first day of each month, except when it falls on a Sunday. In such instances, you’ll receive it on the last working day of the previous month.

Under the law, a six-month waiting period between your disability onset date and when you should get your first payment must also be observed.

For example, if your disability started in June 2020, your payment will begin in December. Even if your claim is approved the same month your disability began, you’ll still have to wait six months before you can get your first monthly payment.

From the previous example, if your disability claim is approved in June (when your disability started), the earliest you can expect your check will still be in December. An exemption to this rule would be if your condition falls under the Compassionate Allowances Program, which we will discuss later. Most of the time, however, the approval process eats up most of the waiting period. 

Receiving other payments like workers’ compensation benefits or pensions based on work not covered by social security may delay your check even further. Instances like this require a claims specialist to process your claim manually, hence the delay.

The award letter you get from the SSA will also tell you how much disability benefits you’re entitled to and when your disability payments will start. If there is doubt about when your disability began, the notice will also state your established onset date. If you’ve waited for more than 90 days already, you can contact the SSA to follow up on the status of your claim. Or you can ask your disability lawyer to do it for you.

Since they already know the ins and outs of the system and know which people to talk to, the process will be much faster.          


Your disability payment schedule depends on your date of birth. Individuals born from the 1st to the 10th of the month will receive payments every second Wednesday. If your birthday falls between the 11th and the 20th, you can expect payments every third Wednesday of the month. 

Meanwhile, those born from the 21st to the 31st will receive disability checks every fourth Wednesday. This information is subject to change, so it’s always best to check with the relevant authorities or visit the official website for the most up-to-date information.

If your disability check didn’t arrive on the expected date, there could be several reasons for the delay:

  • Outdated Records: If you haven’t updated your address or banking details with the Social Security Administration (SSA), it can disrupt the delivery of your disability payments. The SSA needs accurate information to ensure your payments reach you.
  • Processing Delays: There might be a backlog in the SSA’s processing system, especially if there is a high volume of claims or administrative issues. This can result in delays in receiving your first payment or subsequent payments.
  • Banking Error: If there are changes to your bank account that the SSA uses to send your payments, they will notify you and confirm the new information before issuing your check. Any discrepancies or errors in your banking details can cause delays in receiving your payment.

To avoid hitches and ensure you receive your benefits on time, update your bank records and other personal details with the SSA.


Because SSDI applications take a long to get approved, most successful claimants are entitled to disability back pay. Back pays (or the first installment) are usually sent to your account 60 days after approval. It may also come with your first disability payment.

But this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, you will receive your back pay much earlier (even before you receive an approval notice). In other cases, it takes longer than two months. This is because SSDI back pays are handled by payment processing centers instead of the SSA office where you applied.


As of May 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires all disability claimants to receive their payments electronically. This means that physical “disability checks” are no longer issued. Instead, individuals can receive payments through direct deposit into a bank account or the Direct Express card program.

To apply for a Direct Express card account, contact the Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Contact Center at 1-800-333-1795. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest SSA office to complete the application process.


To reduce the waiting time for people with the most severe disabilities, the SSA developed the Compassionate Allowances Program. Under this, the agency uses cutting-edge technology to identify those with extreme medical conditions quickly. They also use data gathered from the public, opinions from medical experts, and recommendations from the Disability Determinations Service to make a quick decision.

But generally, if your condition is on the compassionate allowances list, your waiting period will be reduced to mere weeks. Some of the conditions included in the list are:

  • Acute Leukemia
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Alpers Disease
  • Child Lymphoma
  • Coffin-Lowry Syndrome
  • Early-Onset Alzheimers
  • Ewing Sarcoma
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Malignant Multiple Sclerosis
After receiving disability benefits for 24 months, you will automatically be eligible for Medicare. This benefit will cover inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, medical supplies, doctors’ services, and outpatient care.


If you qualify for disability, you’ll usually be eligible for other types of benefits, such as:


After receiving disability benefits for 24 months, you will automatically be eligible for Medicare. This benefit will cover inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, medical supplies, doctors’ services, and outpatient care.


SSDI beneficiaries may also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as food stamps. Provided, however, that your income does not exceed the program’s threshold. The income requirement depends on the state you’re in. But in general, those receiving SSI will also qualify for food stamps.



Social Security disability pending status? Check the status of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application. There are several options available:


You can sign in to your SSA account and view the status of your application. The SSA’s online benefits management portal, called “my Social Security,” allows applicants to check their application status and update personal information.


If you have questions or need assistance checking your application status, call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213.

VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney

Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.

Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.

About The Author

Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.