Important: We updated this article in April 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. For many people who apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, the claim process can be difficult. But after your Social Security disability approval, it’s important to have a good understanding of next steps. From knowing when your benefits will begin to what types of medical insurance you may receive, having an idea of what to expect is important.
After Social Security Disability Approval, When Do Payments Begin?
According to the Social Security Administration, people who win Social Security disability approval get their first payment during the sixth full month after their health problem(s) began. For example: If your doctor says you have breast cancer on June 1, you should get your award letter no sooner than December 1. That’s because December 1 is six full months after your medical records show your condition started.
Keep in mind that Social Security disability approval means that benefits are paid the following month. So, you won’t receive your December benefits payment until the following January.
Pro Tip: The SSA assumes the date you file your application for benefits is the day your health issues began. That’s almost never true for people who apply for SSD benefits. You can call the SSA on same day your health makes you unable to work any longer. On that call, say you intend to apply for SSD benefits and to mark today as your “protective filing date.” This can help you secure up to 17 months of benefits paid at once after Social Security disability approval!
How Much Should I Expect From the SSA After My Social Security Disability Approval?
Your lifetime work earnings determine how much money you qualify for each month in Social Security disability benefits. The SSA calculates your maximum monthly benefit amount using your:
- Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). This include up to 35 years’ worth of income you received while working and paying into Social Security.
- Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). This is the final amount of SSD benefits you qualify for once the SSA adjusts it using something it calls “bend points.” (To see a detailed chart showing how this PIA formula changes every year, visit the SSA’s website.)
Depending on your past work income, you may receive no more than $3,627 each month in SSD benefits. However, the average monthly payment across the U.S. in 2023 is $1,483.
Important: After Social Security disability approval, most people get about 40% of their average monthly work paychecks in SSD benefits. If your SSD pay amount seems low, remember that the SSA averages your job income over your entire work history. For every year you don’t work, then the SSA enters your income as $0. Enough $0 income working years can make your final SSD pay amount quite a bit lower as a result.
Does Social Security Disability Approval Include Health Insurance?
After the SSA approves your claim, you won’t automatically get health insurance right away. Instead, you must wait 24 months for Medicare. Then, the SSA should automatically enroll you into Medicare Part A (hospital coverage). Depending on where you live, your state may also automatically enroll you in Medicare Part B (health insurance). You should get a letter in the mail listing next steps to take, if any, to start your Medicare coverage.
The federal government manages Medicare to specifically cover anyone aged 65 and older who paid into it while working. Medicare also provides health insurance for people younger than 65 with qualifying disabilities.
Haven’t Received An Answer Back About Your Claim Yet? Don’t Worry!
Getting SSDI benefits can be a real challenge. However, a local Social Security attorney charges $0 for expert claim help today. You are nearly 3x more likely to win benefits with expert claim help from a nearby lawyer. People who get claim help through this website usually receive $13,500 in back pay after Social Security disability approval. Less than 1 in 5 people who apply on their own without expert help ever receive SSD benefits.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.