If you file for disability in North Carolina and get approved at the initial claim, or disability application, level, or get approved at the reconsideration appeal level (the reconsideration is the first appeal), you can probably expect to be put into pay status within just a few short weeks of the decision having been made by a disability examiner at NC DDS (North Carolina disability determination services).
After the case has been approved by the disability examiner, the case will be sent back to the Social Security office.
Usually, the Social Security office CR, or claims representative, will inform the claimant who has been approved for SSD (Social Security Disability) that they can expect to receive their disability back pay within 30 days, and their regular ongoing monthly disability benefits will begin the month after that.
If the individual has been approved for SSI, as opposed to SSD, the same timetable for how long it takes to receive back pay and continuing monthly benefits may apply.
However, this will be affected by what is called the “end of line” interview. Since SSI also takes into consideration whatever assets a person may have, they will need to be questioned again at this interview about their assets (money in bank accounts, real property, etc.) before benefits may be released.
Obviously, the sooner a person who is approved for SSI gets to the Social Security office for this interview, the sooner they may receive their backpay and regular monthly benefits.
The relatively fast turnaround at these first two levels of the system is because if the disability examiner renders a decision (examiners make decisions at the first two levels) then the case gets immediately forwarded back to the Social Security office where it started.
If, however, your case goes to the level of an ALJ hearing, or administrative law judge disability hearing, then it may take a good bit longer to begin receiving disability benefits even if your case is awarded by the judge.
The reason for this is that even if the judge indicates to you at the hearing that your case will be paid, I.e. awarded benefits, that does not necessarily mean that you will receive an official notice of approval. Decisions made by judges are not entirely official until they are written up by decision writers at the hearing office, or ODAR, which stands for office of adjudication and review.
The problem here is that just as there is a backlog for cases waiting to be scheduled for hearings to take place, there is also a backlog for cases to be written up by decision writers.
It is not unusual, in fact, for claimants to wait several weeks, perhaps even several months, after they have been awarded benefits by an ALJ , to begin receiving their monthly benefits.
If you have been told that you have been approved to receive benefits, or you have received a notification of approval in the mail, and there seems to be an inordinate delay in receiving your benefits, then you may wish to have your disability representative contact the payment processing center to see if there is any hold up in the processing of your benefits.
It has been my experience, in the past, that contacting a payment center module can sometimes have the effect of clearing a jam in the pipeline.
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