Answer: One to three months. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting longer.
The person at Social Security who approves your disability claim does not also compute your benefits and authorize their payment. Someone else does that.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are computed and authorized by your local Social Security office.
Benefits based upon your own earnings or the earnings of another person, such as disabled widows benefits, are computed and authorized at one of Social Security’s payment centers. The exact payment center depends mostly upon your age and your Social Security number but you have little reason to be concerned about which payment center it will be.
Social Security does not have enough employees to get its work done. This has created backlogs all over the agency. The backlogs affect the field offices and the payment centers. At this writing, it is taking about a month to get SSI and about a month to get benefits based upon someone’s earnings. However, if you are approved for both — and most people are — it takes longer since two different offices have to coordinate their efforts.
At the Charles T. Hall Law Firm, we keep working on your case even after you’re approved. Our job is not finished until you’ve been properly paid. Most of the time the correct payments come without too much delay. Sometimes there are problems. We work on those problems.