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If I Am Approved For SSD, When Do My Benefits Begin?

Person holding clock after applying for SSD benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits when you are unable to work as a result of a medical condition can be a long, difficult, and time-consuming process from beginning to end. The application process takes months, if not years, and often involves seemingly endless questions, forms to fill out, and hoops to jump through for the applicant, regardless of whether you apply online, via paper or over the telephone. It also can involve numerous visits to “consulting physicians” who perform physical examinations of you and ask you questions at the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s request, but are not required to and will not tell you anything about their findings. The whole arduous, time-consuming process often seems like a great mystery to applicants.

Then there are the various steps in the process: the initial application and review, reconsideration if your application is denied upon your initial review, and then the seemingly interminable period of waiting for a hearing if you are denied again after you have requested reconsideration. The process is so long and time-consuming that it can drive even the most patient person batty, let alone someone who may be disabled and unable to work.

That is why many people are shocked to find that, even at the end of such a seemingly interminable process, there is a waiting period between the date they are determined to have met the SSA’s disability guidelines for qualifying for benefits and the date the successful applicant can expect to begin to receive benefits. However, because the actual application process lasts so long, successful applicants often find they may receive their first benefits immediately after being approved for benefits, particularly if they had to go through multiple levels of the review process before they were eventually approved to receive benefits. This is because the SSA determines something called your disability onset date, the date you met the criteria for receiving SSD benefits. There is a five-month waiting period after your disability onset date until benefits begin, but given that most applications take so long to process by the SSA, we often see our clients approved and the five-month waiting period already passed during the time their application for benefits was pending.

When Do My SSD Benefits Actually Begin?

Assuming your application is approved, your SSD benefits kick in five months after your disability onset date. The disability onset date is the date that the SSA determines that you first met SSD eligibility criteria. This means that, even if you have been approved to receive benefits, benefits are not payable until five months after the date you are determined to have been disabled according to SSA regulations.

Does This Mean I Am Left Waiting to Receive My First SSD Check Even After I Have Been Approved for Benefits?

This all depends on your disability onset date. If, like many SSD benefits recipients, your application process drags on for months or even years and the SSA determines that your disability onset date was a day that has already passed during the time your application was pending, then the five-month waiting period may have already come and gone. In that case, the experienced Social Security Disability attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman frequently have had clients who went through the entire review process only to hire an attorney once they have been denied at the initial and reconsideration levels and then have a hearing set and they want to avoid being railroaded by the SSA. In such cases, our clients will often receive a check for past-due benefits rather than having to wait five months to get their initial benefits check.

Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

The experienced SSD attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman have counseled many clients who were unsure when to expect a decision on their SSD application or how much to expect in benefits and when to expect it if they have been approved for benefits. If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining if you qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be if you qualify for benefits, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation today.

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