Social Security Disability Benefits – 5 Month Waiting Period

When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) there is a 5 month waiting period that needs to be considered. The 5 month waiting period means that you cannot collect SSDI benefits until you have been disabled for 5 complete months.

If your initial application for disability is approved, then you might not start receiving benefits until it has been 5 complete months since the onset of your disability.

For most people, the Social Security Disability application process takes well over 5 months, so as soon as they are approved, they can start receiving benefits. In fact, once you are approved for disability, you may also get some back pay for the months leading up to your “approved” date. All the months that you were disabled, after the 5 month waiting period and before your application for disability was approved, will be paid to you in one lump sum. So, if you were approved 10 months after becoming disabled, you will get 5 months of back pay. The maximum number of months that you can receive back pay is 12 months prior to your initial application for disability. Your attorney fees (if you hired an attorney) will generally be automatically deducted out of your back pay.

Examples:

Jane, in Temecula, California, became disabled in June 2008. She filed for disability in August 2008 and was approved on her initial application in October 2008. Jane will not start receiving disability benefits until December 2008; her 5 month waiting period is July-November 2008.

Chuck, in Escondido, California, became disabled in January 2007. He filed for disability in September 2007 and was approved in a disability hearing in November 2008. Chuck will receive back pay for July 2007 to November 2008 (16 months); his 5 month waiting period was from February 2007 to June 2007.

Sue, in Poway, California, became disabled in March 2005. She filed for disability in November 2006 and was approved for disability in January 2008. Sue will receive back pay for November 2005 to January 2008 (26 months); her 5 month waiting period was from April 2005 to August 2005. Sue maxed out the cap of 12 months prior to the date of her initial application for collecting back pay.

It’s a little bit of a mystery why the Social Security Administration requires this 5 month waiting period. Many people believe that it is just a way for the Social Security Administration to save money. It might be a way to make sure that only people with long term disabilities will apply for SSDI.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there is not a 5 month waiting period; however, your back pay is for all the past months starting when you first applied for SSI on your current claim.

Applying for Social Security Disability can be stressful and take a long time. If you get denied benefits, don’t give up. For experienced legal representation and an aggressive pursuit of your SSDI or SSI claims, contact Jorgensen Law. For assistance, schedule a free consultation at our office by calling (866) 587.9176.

With Social Security Disability (SSDI) and SSI office locations in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside, we represent clients throughout the state of California. Some of the cities that are served by our offices in the Southern California area include: Santa Ana, Fontana, Orange County, Oceanside, Santa Clarita, San Clemente, Ontario, Garden Grove, Pomona, Torrance, Pasadena, Palmdale, Corona, Lancaster, Escondido, Orange, Fullerton, Chula Vista, El Monte, Simi Valley, Inglewood, Costa Mesa, Downey, West Covina, Norwalk, Ventura, Burbank, Victorville, Carlsbad, South Gate, El Cajon, Mission Viejo, Temecula and Murrieta.

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