How are Social Security disability benefits paid?

If you're one of thousands of people waiting for your Social Security (SS) disability benefits to be approved, you may be wondering how quickly you'll be paid after your application is accepted. While there's typically a wait time between approval and the first payment, claimants can get their benefits a little faster now that the United States Treasury Department pays federal benefits through electronic deposit.

Claimants Are Required to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits Electronically

electronic_depositIn the past, beneficiaries received paper benefit checks in the mail or picked them up at the nearest SS office. As of 2013, federal law requires anyone who receives government benefits, including SS disability benefits, to accept payments electronically through direct deposit to a financial institution.

The implementation of direct deposit is faster, safer, and more convenient for claimants, as claimants’ payments go directly to a bank account,
credit union account, or a prepaid credit card each month.

While direct deposit is required in most circumstances, there are some instances where beneficiaries may be able to receive paper checks. These exceptions are rarely granted, and must be requested by completing an official waiver from the Social Security Administration.

You may be able to receive paper checks for your benefits if you:

  • Live in a remote area where banking institutions don't offer adequate direct deposit payment options.
  • Have a mental impairment that prohibits or complicates the switch from a current paper check method to direct deposit.
  • Were born before May 1, 1921.

In making a request for paper checks, you'll need to provide information as to why you're requesting the waiver and an explanation of why receiving benefits through direct deposit would cause undue hardship. However, if you don't meet the qualifications above, it's unlikely the waiver will be granted.

The Social Security Disability program is often overrun with applications, and it can often take a year or more for benefit requests to be approved. If you're having trouble getting your rightful benefits, our experienced lawyers can intervene and take over the fight on your behalf. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.