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When will your SSDI benefits start after you apply?

Dec 15, 2021 | Social Security Disability

Every single paycheck you earn has deductions taken from it to pay into Social Security. Most people will make a claim against those contributions when they retire, but some people will need help before then.

Working adults who suffer debilitating medical events or severe accidents can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The payments from SSDI reflect the contributions someone has made throughout their lifetime and can help an adult with a disabling medical condition meet their basic financial obligations.

How soon could you potentially receive SSDI benefits after you apply?

SSDI benefits typically don’t start immediately

Most applicants will need to wait even after an approval of their claim before they start receiving SSDI payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA). With the exception of those with severe or terminal illnesses who qualify for compassionate allowances, most applicants cannot receive any benefits for the first five months after they technically qualify for SSDI.

It is only during the sixth month after applying that someone will finally receive payments from the SSA for SSDI benefits in most cases. They can continue receiving those benefits for as long as they still meet the disability standard established by the SSA. While SSDI is often much less than what someone makes at work, these payments can help cover someone’s mortgage, grocery bills and other expenses when they are unable to work due to medical issues.

What happens after a denied claim?

The SSA has a reputation for denying people with reasonable and significant medical conditions. If the SSA rejects your initial application for SSDI benefits, you will likely have to appeal that decision. The appeals process can take months, if not longer than a year. During that time, you will have to cover your cost-of-living expenses without payments from the SSA.

The good news is that applicants to succeed in their appeals can receive backdated benefits after the SSA approves their claim. Based on when they initially applied or qualified for benefits, they can receive back payments for the benefits they would have received with an immediate approval.

Knowing how long you may have to wait for SSDI benefits can help you budget as you plan the application process.

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