One of the most common questions when an individual decides to apply for social security is “How long will it take to begin receiving payments after I submit my application?” Due to the size and scope of the Social Security Administration, many people believe that it will take weeks or months to begin receiving benefits after you initially apply for social security. In this article, we’ll outline what you can expect from the administration with respect to application processing times.
On average and under normal circumstances, around two weeks will elapse between the time that you actually apply for social security and the processing of your first benefits payment. In certain cases, payments have been issued in as quickly as one week. However, there are rare occasions during which the administration may take several weeks and even up to 4 or 5 months to issue benefits payments. While these situations are rare, they do happen. However, they are preventable. Most of the instances in which benefits payments are significantly delayed are caused by problems with documentation relating to proof of age or other such similar factual requirements.
So when should you start to worry? In most cases, if your first benefits payment has not been processed within 12 weeks of the time that you actually apply for social security benefits, you may be eligible to file for what is known as an expedited payment. If you have not received your payment within this time frame, you should contact your representative at the local district office to follow up on your claim and to inquire as to whether or not your are entitled to expedited payment processing. Do keep in mind that payments are not issued until they are actually due to you and you are entitled to benefits. For example, if you decided to apply for social security retirement benefits ahead reaching retirement age status, your payments will not be marked for processing until you have reached the specified date in your application.
You should also be aware that all benefits payments are paid in arrears, meaning benefits due for a particular month will be paid during the following month. If you apply for social security benefits to begin in June, you will not receive your first full payment until the month of July. If you file early, your first payment will not be processed until the month after your first month of benefits entitlement.
The local district office in your area is equipped to issue payments directly through their computer system when applications fit within certain standard criteria. The reason for delay in many cases is that some information contained in the application was considered to require special handling and therefore requires approval and payment processing from an office above your local district administration center.
Understanding when benefits payments should be issued is a critical component of learning how to apply for social security and you should ensure that you are following up in any cases where your first payment may have been delayed.