What is the Social Security Disability Five-Month Waiting Period?

disability 5 month waiting period

If you are diagnosed with a mental or physical disability that will affect you for duration of at least one year, prohibit you from working full time and prevent you from being able to support yourself, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards individuals SSD if they meet the criteria outlined in the Blue Book for disabilities as well as the SSA’s definition of “disability.”

Is There a Waiting Period Before Benefits Begin?
Whether you get approved with your initial application or after going through an appeals process to overturn a denial, there is a mandatory five-month waiting period before you’ll start to receive your benefits.

This five-month period of time begins on the established onset date (EOD) of your disability, which is date the SSA states you became disabled. This waiting period can affect you in one of two ways.

If your EOD was January 1, 2014, and you file for Social Security disability benefits on February 1, 2014, then you will have to wait for the five months before your payments begin, so that means you will receive your first Social Security Disability payment in June 2014.

On the other hand, if your EOD was January 1, 2014, and you don’t apply for Social Security disability until August 2014, the five months have past, so you can start to receive your benefits right away once you get approved for payments.

The reason the SSA requires a five month waiting period before payments can begin is to discourage people with short-term disabilities from applying for Social Security disability. These benefits are specifically for chronic disabilities only, so this waiting rule encourages those who will still be disabled five months later to apply.

It’s also important to note that the SSA will provide you with back pay if you wait to file an application right away after becoming disabled. If you apply 17 months after your EOD, you’ll get a full year of back pay, which includes 12 months after the five month waiting period.

Ask a Lawyer for Assistance
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a tricky process because the SSA is strict on what they accept and there are many parts to consider during the application process. Because of this, it’s best to contact a Social Security attorney or advocate as they can assist with the intricacies and help you determine when you might be able to start receiving benefits if your claim is approved.

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