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SSAB Releases Paper on Disability Benefit Effectuation

February 29, 2024

Washington, DC – Today, the Board released Effectuation of Disability Benefits.

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that a person is eligible for disability benefits, the agency must take additional steps before actually paying those benefits. These steps, known as the effectuation process, occur after some awardees have experienced lengthy waits to obtain favorable decisions.

The Board’s report provides an overview of the effectuation process that highlights how it can differ depending on the benefits claimed, the stage of appeal at which the claim was awarded, and other factors. The report analyzes a non-SSA data set from a large national firm of claimants’ representatives which shows that:

  • Average effectuation times increased over the past decade.
  • Nearly 5% of claims in the data set had effectuation times greater than 300 days.
  • Claims for Supplemental Security Income and claims awarded by Administrative Law Judges had longer effectuation times than other types of claims.

Read the Report

The Board recommends changes SSA could make to its systems, policies, and operations to improve the speed and accuracy of effectuation. The Board also recommends that Congress direct SSA to pay interest on past-due benefits when there are delays in effectuation.


The Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-296) established a bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board composed of up to seven Board members appointed by Congress and the White House. Supported by a professional staff, the Board provides advice and recommendations to the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs and policies.