CONGRATULATIONS! You have finished the application process and have been approved. You went through the lengthy process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, and are ready to receive all of your back pay and your first month’s benefit. Unfortunately, you might need to wait a little longer, as the payment process usually takes one to two months after approval, and in some cases, it may take even longer. Luckily, any time that passes from approval to your first benefit payment must be reflected in your back pay. You will most likely receive a lump sum of back payments when you get your first disability benefits payments, which will account for the long time you were waiting for your application to be approved.


Established Onset Date (EOD)
This is very important to you because your EOD determines the date that your benefits will start. The SSA will use the date you filed your application as your “alleged onset date” and if that date doesn’t change by any reason, it will become your “established onset date” (EOD). In some particular cases, for example, if you were disabled for some time before your application date, you may be able to challenge your established onset date to an onset date that reflects when you became disabled and unable to work. In this case, you may want to hire an SSDI attorney to help you.

Waiting period
All SSDI claims have a mandatory waiting period. Before you can start receiving SSDI payments, you must prove that you have been disabled for five-months after your disability onset date. “Your first Social Security benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date that your disability began. For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2018, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2018, the sixth full month of disability. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they’re due. This means that the benefit due for December would be paid to you in January 2019, and so on.”

Retroactive Benefits
Retroactive benefits cannot be collected for more than 12 months. Therefore, the maximum time that the SSA will recognize a disability onset date is 17 months before the application date, which includes the five-month wait period, even if you became disabled years ago.


Application date Disability date EOD Benefits approval Monthly payment Time between Application Date and Approval Date *Retroactive Benefits
April 29, 2016 February 22, 2016 January 30, 2017 $500 9 months $4,500

* Monthly payment multiply by months between the application date and approval date.

Once you receive your first benefit payment (most likely a lump sum,) you must make sure that any fees owed to your lawyer were taken out of your benefit amount. The SSA usually takes care of this for you, but sometimes an administrative error may occur and your Social Security Disability lawyer does not get paid directly out of your back paycheck.

If you have not started receiving your Social Security Disability benefits within 90 days of approval, you should contact the SSA. You may also have your Social Security Disability lawyer contact the SSA, who will take the time to make sure you get your benefits promptly, as they get paid directly from your back pay.

At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients with their SSD cases and provide valuable information to those looking into applying for disability benefits, or are interested in filing appeals from their initial denial. If you are looking to file your initial SSD case claim, you can download our guide here and file your application online here.

Do not hesitate to call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. We do not charge an up-front fee for social security legal representation. Click here for more information about social security disability and how Seff & Capizzi can help.