Once the social security judge awards you disability benefits, it can take anywhere from one to two months for you to start receiving payments for back benefits, sometimes as much as 3 months. Every state has different average waiting times and each judge operates differently. If it takes longer than 3 months, there may have been a mix-up in the payment, so you or your attorney should follow up with the Social Security Administration. When Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is involved it can take more time. Keep in mind that sometimes a judge will issue a ruling at the conclusion of your social security hearing, but often times the judge will wait weeks or up to 3 months to actually issue the decision.
As your attorney, all we can do is make sure that your claim is processed correctly so that no additional unnecessary delays take place. Because of the slow process, it is important not to needlessly delay getting started.
State Aid Programs while you wait
The waiting time for receiving social security benefits places many Americans unable to work in an extremely difficult situation. Please check with your state to find out what kind of general assistance programs are available.
Local state agencies provide Interim Assistance to social security disability applicants. The following link provides a state-by-state guide to such benefits: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssi_st_asst/. Through this program, you are basically advanced a modest amount of money by the state to help with your living expenses if it seems likely that you are going to receive social security benefits. The amount of any payments advanced through this program is then withheld when you are approved. In order to be eligible for such benefits, you have to apply for social security disability and meet all of the other public assistance criteria except for the receipt of SSI.