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What Should You Do if Your Disability Check is Late?

by Ryan Kinnar5 min read
What should you do if your disability check is late?

A disability check is a monthly payment made to you after you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). One would think that after enduring the lengthy, complicated and stressful process of applying for SSD, you would get your check as soon as your claim is approved. Unfortunately, this is not the case.


Typically, you have to wait one to two months after your claim has been approved for you to start receiving your payments. And in most instances, it takes even longer for your back pay to be disbursed to you. The good news is that payment for the time between your claim approval and when you get your first disability check is also added to your back pay.


What should you do if your disability check is late?
Social Security Disability checks are now electronically transferred.


What should you do if your disability check is late?

If you do not receive your first disability check within 90 days of your claim being approved, then it is best that you contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to find out the status of your payment.



If you hired an attorney to help with your claim, ensure that he or she follows up with the SSA to find out why your check is delayed. An attorney will be well-versed with the bureaucracy involved in dealing with a government organization as large as the SSA and will be able to have your payment released faster than you. Attorneys will ensure that this process is completed quickly and smoothly as they get paid from your back pay.

When you receive you disability check, you need to ensure that your attorney’s fees have been deducted from the amount. There are a lot of times when, due to clerical errors, the amount may not have been deducted at source as it is supposed to happen. You also need to check the amount deducted. A lawyer’s fees cannot at any time exceed more than 25% of your back pay amount and is a one-time payment.


Method of payment

Previously, all disability checks were mailed to the claimants in the form of paper checks. However, since 2011, the SSA has been slowly converting all payments being made to claimants to direct deposits in their bank accounts.

All those who have applied for Social Security after 2011 have to have valid bank accounts and their payments are sent directly as direct debit. Right now, more than 85% of Social Security beneficiaries are being paid through direct debit.

For those who do not wish to receive their money directly in their accounts, the SSA offers the option of debit cards, called Direct Express cards. While this option is available to all applicants, the SSA also warns that this is the more cumbersome of the two options. Debit cards can be lost, and the process for applying for a new one is much lengthier and more complicated than when you apply for a regular bank debit card. Additionally, there are transaction charges levied when you use the Direct Express card and there are also daily spending limits which cannot be exceeded.



When do I get my disability check every month?

If you retired before 1997, you will receive your disability check on the 3rd of every month.

If you applied for Social Security Disability after 1997, then the date on which you will receive your disability check will depend on your birth date.


  • If you were born between the 1st and the 10th of the month, then you will get your disability check on the second Wednesday of every month
  • If you were born between the 11th and the 20th of the month, you will receive your payment on the third Wednesday of every month
  • If your birthday is between the 21st and the 31st of the month, you will get your payment on the fourth Wednesday of every month

For those who began receiving their disability checks before 1997, payment dates may be changed if the 3rd of the month turns out to be a banking holiday. In such cases, payments usually made before the 3rd of the month.

When you get approved for Social Security Disability, you will be asked to choose which payment option you prefer and that is how your disability checks will be sent to you.