Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one of two programs the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers to people who have a disability and cannot work a full-time job. In addition, you must have limited income and assets. Although anyone can apply for benefits, and there is no charge for applying, it is highly recommended that you check the eligibility requirements before you start your application. One often asked question is, “How long does it take to start receiving benefits?” Well, the short answer is 3 to 6 months, unless your claim is denied.
When To Apply
Apply right away. As soon as you become disabled or aware that your disability will affect your working ability, go online and apply. Alternatively, you can call 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment to apply. If you call and set up an appointment within 60 days, the SSA will use the date of your phone call as the start date of your application. The SSA does not award retroactive benefits prior to when you apply for benefits, even though you may have become disabled earlier. That’s why it’s so important to file as soon as possible.
How Long Will It Take?
The application process can be lengthy, and the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t made the line any shorter. 3 to 6 months is the estimate for most application processing, and that’s only if everything goes smoothly. Unfortunately, about 70 percent of applications are denied at least once, and the timeline grows with each subsequent rejection. However, the SSA awards back pay to make up the time between when you first applied and when you were finally approved. Your back payments usually begin within 60 days of your approval and will come in a series of lump-sum payments.
The Appeals Process
If you are denied initially, you have 60 days to start the appeals process. The first appeal is called reconsideration, and it usually takes an average of 60 days to complete. If you are denied again, you’ll ask for a hearing and meet with an Administrative Law Judge. If rejected after a hearing, you may end up waiting up to two years after an appeal to the Appeals Council. All this to say, it’s essential to file quickly and to get it right the first time.
An attorney can significantly improve your chances of getting your application or reconsideration approved. If you have any questions, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law, at (541) 434-6466.