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What Does a Social Security Disability (SSD) Approval Letter Look Like?

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll-tax-funded federal insurance program. The program is intended to provide supplemental income for people who are physically unable to work as a result of a disability. Securing coverage through SSD can be a difficult project, requiring the applicant to jump through a number of legal and administrative hoops. Once an applicant is approved, however, they can receive anywhere from $800 to $1,800 per month in disability benefits. Below, our seasoned Social Security Disability benefits attorney discusses the SSD approval letter and what to watch out for.

When Will You Get Approval?

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is a marathon, not a sprint. Applicants should expect to wait many months before receiving any benefits. After an initial application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is likely to take anywhere from three to five months to approve a claim. If there are any concerns, or if the claim is denied and a reconsideration or appeal is necessary, the process will take even longer. Once the SSA finally approves, they will send an approval letter (possibly not immediately; it can take another month or two for them to process sending the letter). Applicants can expect to wait at least four months before receiving their letter. Benefits may be even further delayed: According to the SSA, applicants can expect to wait five months from their date of disability to start collecting benefits, although for certain disabling conditions there may be no waiting period.

What Information Is in the Approval Letter?

The SSD approval letter will include all of the information necessary for the recipient to understand their benefits. The letter will include:

  • Amount of benefits. Benefits will be determined based on the applicant’s highest-earning years over a 35-year span and dividing those average annual earnings into monthly payments.
  • Monthly date of payments. The letter will let you know when to expect to receive your benefits each month. The method of payment is up to you: When you apply, you can choose direct deposit, electronic transfer, or an SSA debit card.
  • Any back pay amounts. The SSA will issue back payments for benefits that would have been granted had the application been processed sooner.
  • Dates for receipt of back pay. Typically, SSD back payments are issued in a single lump sum within 60 days of approval.
  • Any amount due to representatives. SSD applicants can elect to have payments sent to a representative for financial management.
  • Tax consequences of the SSD benefits. SSD benefits may or may not be taxable, depending on the financial circumstances of the recipient. The letter will explain whether the benefits are taxable and to what extent.

Your approval letter will be sent in the mail after your application is approved. If you want additional copies of the letter, you can request a copy online through the SSA’s “my Social Security” online account portal.

Trusted Assistance Collecting California Disability Benefits

For help obtaining disability benefits in southern California or statewide, call the dedicated and compassionate Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSD/SSI) attorneys Drake & Drake at 818-914-4055.

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Drake & Drake, P.C., is located in Calabasas, CA and serves clients in and around Woodland Hills, Wilmington, Harbor City, Carson, Torrance, San Pedro, Long Beach, Compton, Gardena, Paramount, Lynwood, Bellflower, South Gate, Los Angeles, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Huntington Park, Cerritos, Bell, Norwalk, Maywood, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Whittier and Los Angeles County.

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