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Receiving disability benefits after getting an award notice

Individuals filing for Social Security disability benefits in Pennsylvania typically go through a long and involved process. Therefore, when an award notice is received, it's understandably a welcome relief for most applicants. As for when benefits will actually start, payouts are often received sooner when individuals get an award notice at the initial disability application or reconsideration appeal level. It normally takes a bit longer to receive benefits when an award notice is granted at the hearing level.

This is because initial and reconsideration claims for Social Security disability are usually evaluated by Disability Determination Services and quickly sent to a filer's local Social Security office. When a claim is back at a local office, a claims representative (CR) typically takes the additional steps necessary to begin payments. For individuals whose claims are handled this way, benefits often begin the month a recipient is entitled to receive them.

The "month of entitlement" is sometimes a future date since Social Security disability claims have a mandatory five-month waiting period. Benefits are not awarded for the waiting period months. However, there is no waiting period for SSI claims. Even if there is no future month of entitlement, the start of payments may still be delayed if manual actions need to be completed to clear benefit payouts. Administrative law judge hearing allowances usually take longer to begin since the judge has to sign off on a written hearing decision before it can be passed along to a Social Security Payment Center. It may take a couple months after approval for this process to be completed.

Because the disability claims process can involve several requests from claims investigators and additional steps beyond the initial application submission, it's often advised that claimants work with an attorney. Legal counsel could help ensure that certain deadlines are met.

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