Once Approved How Long Before Benefits for Social Security Disability Start?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays disability incomes to individuals who have long-term disabilities that prevents them from working. You have to meet certain requirements set by the federal agency to qualify for benefits. However, once you are approved, you have to wait several months before receiving your SSA Disability benefits.

Information About Social Security Disability

The Social Security disability program is a publicly funded federal program entitled to all American citizens who meet the federal agency’s requirements. Over 43 million people across the United States are receiving disability and other Social Security benefits according to the SSA. Disability benefits paid from the SSA are not considered taxable income by itself. However, if beneficiaries' other compensation, such as wages and dividends, push their total incomes above the program’s limits, the Internal Revenue Service taxes SSA benefits at normal income tax rates.

Eligibility Requirements

You must meet several requirements to be approved for SSA disability benefits. The federal agency determines the severity of your disability by how it affects your work. The disability must prevent you from doing your previous work and adjusting to other types of jobs. Your illness or injury must be expected to last for one year or longer or is terminal; this program doesn’t cover short-term or partial disability. The SSA also requires you to have worked for companies covered by Social Security and have accrued enough years of work as well.

Waiting Periods

Once you’re approved for SSA disability benefits, you must satisfy waiting periods that last six full months from the start of your disability. Benefits won’t be paid until the six month. For example, if your disability started Jan. 17, the waiting period would end in July. Since benefit payments are sent out on the first of the month, you would begin receiving benefits on Aug. 1.


It is difficult for you to be accepted for SSA disability benefits on your first try. According to the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, only 40 percent of initial applications are accepted by the federal agency. Also, your benefit amounts are based on your history of earnings. The SSA calculates your benefits and sends you and other eligible individuals Social Security Statements each year detailing how much they are. As of 2011, the average monthly disability benefit check was $1,063.