When Will I Receive My Social Security Disability Backpay?

Whether you've been approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, you'll usually receive your retroactive pay within a couple months.

Updated by , J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
How old are you?

For most disability claimants (applicants), it can take many months or even years of waiting to finally be approved for Social Security disability. By the time many applicants finally receive their decision granting them benefits, they're often in serious debt.

That's why one of the first questions SSDI and SSI recipients often have after they've been approved is when they'll receive their retroactive pay, sometimes called backpay. (Learn the difference between SSDI and SSI.)

When You'll Receive Retroactive SSDI Benefits

Usually, a claimant will receive their SSDI backpay within 60 days of being approved. But it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes the backpay comes very quickly. In fact, backpay is sometimes deposited to a bank account before an award notice is even sent. Other times, a claimant's back pay can seemingly fall into an abyss and months will pass before it's received.

Much of this inconsistency is due to the fact that SSDI backpay isn't processed at the Social Security office where claimants apply. Social Security's payment processing centers handle back payments for SSDI, and these centers are often located in other states and deal with mountains of processing work.

Retroactive SSI Benefits Processing Time

Past due benefits for SSI are processed at the local Social Security office. But SSI payments can get held up while Social Security requests your updated income and asset information to determine whether you're still eligible for the program.

In a survey we recently took of our SSI recipients, the average time it took from the time of the decision to the first check was just over two months, though most individuals received their checks within seven weeks.

Updated January 27, 2022

Talk to a Disability Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Boost Your Chance of Being Approved

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Our experts have helped thousands like you get cash benefits.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you