How long should it take to get my disability award letter, back pay, and monthly checks?

I had my hearing on Feb 27th; at that time the judge said I was approved for SSI and disability dating back to June 2011. As of March 2nd, my file has been at the underwriter and is still unassigned. How long will it take to receive my award letter and my back pay and first monthly payments?

What administrative law judges at disability hearings do not point out is that even though they may tell a claimant how they will decide a claim, they, themselves, do not write their own decisions. This task of writing the notice of award is left to workers known as decision writers who also work at the hearing office and who, like judges, have backed up cases to process.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know the exact amount of time it will take for you to get your award letter or when you will get your back pay. It can often come down to the backlogs that exist in your region, i.e. the hearing office that heard your claim.

As has been true for the last decade, Social Security is under a lot of pressure to get beneficiaries into pay status so you should be getting your award notice soon and your continuing pay will soon follow. Perhaps, your monthly benefits will start before you even get your award notice. This does happen.

Hope you get your benefits soon.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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