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How long after receiving my first monthly check, will I get my Social Security Disability back pay?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  1,656 Comments

Learn about processing times for Social Security Disability back pay, factors that can delay it, and tips on how to speed up payment.

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Social Security Disability Back Pay and Ongoing Monthly Benefits

How you begin to receive your Social Security Disability benefits varies depending on several factors. Sometimes a person’s first payment will include all back pay through the prior calendar month and will then be followed by regular monthly benefits. At other times, Social Security has to do additional calculations before back benefits can be paid, and the Administration will start your regular monthly checks before releasing your Social Security Disability back pay.

Delays in Back Pay Due to Other Benefits

The most common reason for a lapse of time between your getting your first monthly benefit, if it comes first, and getting your disability back pay is that the Social Security Administration needs to calculate your Social Security disability benefit considering other benefits you are eligible to receive, such as workers compensation, government pension or Supplemental Security Income. For more information about how workers compensation affects Social Security Disability payment amounts, see our article “Can I Get Workers Compensation and Also Get Social Security Disability?” If you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income, also called SSI, and you received your SSI back pay before your Social Security back pay, your Social Security must be reduced by the amount of SSI you received for the same months that you are eligible to get Social Security. For more information about SSI, please visit our article “What Is Supplemental Security Income and How Is It Different from Social Security Disability?”

Speeding Up Payment of Social Security Disability Back Pay

Calculation and release of back benefits may be speeded up by providing everything the Social Security Administration has asked for, including documentation related to your workers compensation, government pension, and Supplemental Security Income claims. If you have received any type of workers compensation or have a workers compensation claim pending, give Social Security a copy of all the workers comp determination letters you have received. If Social Security is waiting for information directly from your workers comp insurer, you might check with Social Security to see if they have received everything they need and, if not, follow up with workers compensation to get it.

If you did not apply for SSI or you received an SSI denial letter, it is a good idea to contact Social Security about the reason your back benefits have not been released and, if they indicate it is due to calculating the SSI offset, let them know that you either did not apply for or were denied SSI and request release of payment.

If the Social Security Administration says they have what they need and they are working on it, it can be helpful to inquire when they expect to complete their processing and then follow up if you have not received your Social Security Disability back pay by that date.

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1,656 Comments

  1. Sher says:

    I was told I was approved for SSDI and SSI on April 7th, so I started receiving monthly payments of $1370 on July 20, 2016. My date of disability is June 7th, 2015, so they wrote that my backpay starts January 2016 and like many other people, they also told me it’d take 60 to 90 days as they checked to see if I was paid anything like compensation or SSI in the meantime (which I wasn’t) or owed the government anything. I haven’t received the backpay yet. From my understanding, SSI is payed in three installments and SSDI is paid in one large payment, but what if I was approved for both SSI and SSDI, then how does that work? I’m hoping to buy a used car before winter, but I’m very grateful for the approval and help they offer while I try to figure out how to function with my disability and see if recovery is possible.

    Sher

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sher,

      You should have received your first installment of SSI back pay by now. Your Social Security Disability (SSD) back pay will be reduced by SSI paid or payable for the same months, that is for installment payments you have received and those still due. (Note that now that you are no longer eligible for SSI, you can request release of the remainder of your SSI back pay now.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rob Stevens says:

        Well, I apologize for not figuring out how to start a new thread on here!! After 4 3/4 years I was finally given a fully favorable decision!! I received a partially favorable decision back in 2013. But it shows in my “My Social Security” account that I was only paid for 6 months in my partially favorable decision. Eventhough it shows in my paperwork that I was disabled for two years. My paperwork is now at the payment center, do you have any idea how long this is going to take? I am on day 48 since I got my favorable decision.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Rob,

          If you do not have workers compensation or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, benefits may start about two months from when the decision was rendered, although processing times are unpredictable and could take longer.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • richard says:

        hello, i received letter saying im getting ssdi back in feb of this year lawyer was paid april 21 i was told they started on back pay the day after back in may when i started getting ssdi lawyer called for me in aug said they said another 30 days so is there any hope of ever getting backpay . or
        they giving lawyer a run around like me thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Richard,

          The Social Security representative is giving an estimate but can’t guarantee the time frame. The payment centers are understaffed and backed up. If you don’t have payment within the thirty days most recently quoted, you might try asking your congressperson’s office to follow up for you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  2. Darrnell M. says:

    Hi Kay I was approved for SSD/SSI as well as SSDI Adult Disability Benefits As of January 21 2016 , I started getting money on my record but was also approved for my father who passed back in 2008 , the same year o applied for , My AOD was march of 2006 the ALJ moved my EOD to the same date , this was after fighting with SSA for almost 10 years , Use to get benefits as a child that was back in july 2005 going past all that , I went through all the appeals process and than in to Federal District Court where they found in my favor and sent my claim back to SSA with instructions to approve me, That came January 21 2016 , I started getting paid April of 2016 but that was on my record only SSDI & SSI , But nothing on My SSDI Adult Child Benefits , Some how the ODAR office sent it to my local office who lost it along the way , it was not until july 2016 i started to bother SSA on the issue that i should not be getting the SSI or SSD on my record but my fathers record as his record paid more , well it’s been about 10 years of battling SSA to get here , The Payment center is taking their sweet time , But i keep getting told that they have to start paying me off my fathers record and that the off set for ssi has to be processed but told they after to pay it out before October 1 since that is the new Fiscal year and that they could get in trouble to not getting my post approval done with , Can you tell me how long it will take been waiting sometime thanks .

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Darnell,

      I doubt that all approved pending claims awaiting payment will be paid before the end of the fiscal year. However, given that it has been five months since your monthly benefits started, I suggest that if you don’t have payment by then, you might try asking your congressperson to follow up. When everything is finished, you may receive benefits on your own Social Security account with an additional payment off your father’s account to bring the two payments up to the amount you would get if you were drawing on your father’s only.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Darrnell McCoy says:

        $1800 is what I am suppose to be getting but I am only getting $751 but was told everything on my record would stop along with the ssi , I was told by my attorney and ssa I would only be collecting title 2 off my father’s record and my daughter would collect off my record , my father before he passed was getting maximum amount from Retirement benifits, he was getting $2500 a month , I was told by the CR I would be getting $1800-$2000 or 75% of my father’s record based off his earnings and payment , 10 years is a long time to fight , I am a Veteran with PTSD , Split personality disorder all service Connected but because it all happen to me before the age of 22 they said I get both my ssdi and va

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Darrnell,

          Please see my response to your first post.

          Sincerely,
          Ka

          • Darrnell M. says:

            Hi Kay Derochie i want to say thank you , After speaking with my Attorney & SSA Claims Specialist , they both Confirmed to me that my case is unique , But i was wrong about how much i will be getting , based off my fathers record since all my payments will be coming off my father’s record 75% if he has passed on or 50% if alive , My father passed in 2008 but i was told my own ssdi title 2 will be cut off or zeroed out, since i will be getting from a higher paying record $2115.00 a Month based off my father was being paid the maximum amount allowed ,

  3. raveen cannon says:

    Hi my son got approved for ssi he got his first back pay in june 2016 of 2500 all together they owe him 3.000 when will i get the rest of it

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Raveen,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay is paid in three installments six months apart, the first two not to exceed $2,199 each. If your son has dire need, such as needing more than the installment to obtain or retain housing or for some medical need, he can petition to have more released sooner.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  4. AQW says:

    My husband receives his decision on August 12, 2016 in the mail. It was on August 9, 2016, which is the date the judge sign the decision. I just want to know when he will receive anything. I was told to take the dire need letter to the local office and no luck. We are frustrated due to people telling us he would receive something in twenty days, September 21, 2016, and now October. I need help with this problem, because we are over our head in debt. I do work, but it is not enough to keep everything together. He only applied for his SSDI. Can you please explain exactly what they are doing while we wait?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AQW,

      Social Security Disability payments are authorized by staff in the payment center. The local office can only give estimates. Usually claims are processed in the order received by the payment center. Your husband’s claim is waiting its turn among other claims with dire need statements. There is a wait because the centers are understaffed due to budgetary reasons. The monthly benefit will be paid first, likely not till October, and the back pay will follow a month or two later.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. Jacquelyn says:

    I have a disabled sister who is currently on SSI. She has been disabled since she was a small child. My father passed away in Feb 2014, we then applied for Survivor Benefits. 28 months later (August 2016)they approve it. They stopped her normal SSI until a payee is declared. Which has been completed, now they state October 2016 she will receive her Survivor Benefits and her back pay will be sent in one lump sum within 30-60 days. Is this true or is she expecting installments and extended wait times on back pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jacquelyn,

      Social Security back pay is paid in a single payment. Social Security estimates on how long it takes to get payment are not always reliable. In the range given, I would say the longer period is more likely.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anthony says:

        I got ssi back pay..now they changed it to SSDI will I get back pay from that and will I have to pay the back pay back to ssi….

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Anthony,

          Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay will be reduced by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back benefits paid for months in which you were eligible for both benefits. You should not have to pay anything back because the two benefits are being coordinated.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  6. Ginger says:

    Hello Kay. My son is 4 and has a severe speech impairment. I applied on August 3, 2016 for SSI for him. I found out on Sept 1, 2016 that our snap benefits had been decreased from 770.00 to 494.00 which would begin on Oct 1, 2016. I had to take a few documents in to his caseworker on Sept 2, 2016 so she told me that he had been approved for 733.00 a month and that i would receive a check in the mail. Now I opened a bank acct as a representative payee for him as she asked me so that he will receive his first payment in Oct 2016. I received a letter in the mail from the social security administration telling me he needed to be seen by one of there speech therapists to see if he qualifies for benefits. I have already received the approval letter saying that he will start receiving benefits in Oct so my question is does he qualify for backpay? He begin seeing a speech therapist in Aug 2015 so I don”t understand the need for the exam from their therapist because he already sees one twice a week. Sincerely, Ginger

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ginger,

      I think that the letter was sent out in error. I suggest calling the examiner who sent the letter to confirm that that is the case. The exam may have been planned and then a decision was made that it wasn’t needed. There is enough time for your child’s first benefits to be received in October. Based on an August application, he will also be paid for September. Although the September “back pay” may be paid separately from the October benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. Rhonda Deluca says:

    My back pay went into an account linked to prepaid debit. They rejected it because it was to big on Aug 11. I’ve been told 10 days, 15, 18, 30 it’s something different each time. I already got the direct express card but still no payment. Do you have any idea what I should do? It was showing the payment on social security site but it’s gone now.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rhonda,

      Start by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 to ask whether the disappearance of the payment means that it has actually been sent rather than scheduled. If you can’t get a clear answer, try visiting your local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  8. Evelyn says:

    Dear Kay, Can you tell me if looking on the SS website will tell you if your back pay has been issued? Thanking you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Evelyn,

      If you applied online or set up a My Social Security account, the date the back pay was authorized will show as a “one-time” payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • amber m says:

        Hi I was due my second installment back pay for September and they released it today when can I expect money to be in my bank account. Do I count the weekend?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Amber,

          It can take two or three weekday, non-holiday overnight computer runs for the money to appear in your bank account.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Shasha says:

      Sorry, I didn’t know how to start a new thread. I was approved for Ssi in August 2016. My payments will be going back as far as 2013. I did receive public assistance from 2013- 2016 with my daughter on my budget. I wanted to know will public assistance take back monies I received only or the monies my daughter & I received??

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Shasha,

        I would think that if the assistance was based on the number of people that only what you received for yourself would be repaid; however, I am unable to answer your question with any reliability. I suggest that you ask the public assistance office and/or look at your application for assistance if you have it. The application may say.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  9. Ted says:

    Hi Kay,
    I became disabled in July 2011 and won a fully favorable decision April 2016. I have received 3 monthly payments, but no back pay yet. I didn’t file for SSI, State disability, etc. No law suits, no back taxes owed. My lawyer has not been paid yet either.

    I contacted my congressman a month ago per your suggestion to others. My question is, how long is it currently taking to release back pay for a simple case, but large amount?

    Seems to me they should have a check list of everything your case needs to be signed off on line where you can check your own status and expected time frames. Would probably save the SSA a lot of money rather than have to field so many calls asking for the status.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ted,

      The delay is due to backlogs in the payment center compounded by a back payment covering five years being quite large and requiring more than one review and sign-off. You have probably done everything you can at this point in terms of follow-ups and it could be another month or two.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  10. Janet says:

    I received my benefits letter dated Aug 13, 2016. On one page it says that I have approx. 68k back pay from Nov 2012-Jul 2016 minus 6k owed to counsel. On another page it says my back pay is zero. I called the national call center. The woman was very rude. She said that it was because at some time I had workers comp. I had workers comp in 2010-2011 and a settlement lump sum for 9k in the summer of 2012. I can see where the lump sum could be offset, but how can temp wc pay from 2010 thru before Nov 2012 be counted? Like I said the woman was very rude. She said it didn’t matter and that I can expect to wait up to 3 years for any back pay. This seems out of line. Will it really take that long or was she just trying to harass me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Janet,

      You are correct that the workers comp paid prior to November 2012 would not affect benefits and that the $9,000 would be prorated, but I doubt that the proration would cause full offset for almost four years.

      Two possibilities exist–either your benefits have been calculated and fully offset or the zero benefits payable is a placeholder until the actual offset calculation has been completed. The representatives remark about how long it takes to get back pay (not that long, but maybe six months with workers comp involved) may be an indicator of the former. However, because it is difficult even for the local offices to get information from the payment center, to be safe, I suggest that you treat the letter as a final calculation and appeal the calculation of the workers compensation offset based on the 2010 and 2011 benefits not overlapping with Social Security entitlement and on the fact that $9,000 workers comp couldn’t fully offset four years of SSD benefits. Resubmit the same documents, plus a letter from the workers comp payer that those were the only benefits paid. File the appeal at the local office, keep a copy of everything, and request a copy of the appeal form (SSA-561) after it has been date stamped as received.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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