What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
All Social Security disability claims involve a five month waiting period for which no disability benefits are paid. Social Security disability beneficiaries are subject to a five month waiting period that begins with the month following their established disability onset date (the date Social Security determined they became disabled) and ends five months later.
There is no real exception to this rule, but there is an exception of sorts. Since Social Security disability benefits can only be paid for twelve months prior to a disability applicant’s protective filing date (the date they contacted Social Security to file for disability), a disability applicant may be able to receive the maximum twelve month retroactive back payment of disability benefits if they have been unable to work for at least seventeen months prior to filing for disability.
Disability applicants cannot just chose a date seventeen months prior to their protective filing date to avoid the five month waiting period, they must be able to prove they have been disabled at least seventeen months (via their medical records and and statements from treating physicians).
Social Security disability beneficiaries, who are awarded their ongoing disability benefits and back pay at an administrative law judge hearing will not notice the five month waiting period as much because, usually, they are entitled to substantial disability back payments due to the wait time for their disability.
Unfortunately, disability beneficiaries who stopped working just prior to filing their disability claims have no way to avoid the five month waiting period.
The five-month waiting period does not affect disability beneficiaries who are entitled to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. SSI is a need based disability program that allows a disability beneficiary to receive disability benefits from the date of filing. However, SSI disability beneficiaries are not entitled to any kind of retroactive back payment of disability benefits. The earliest that SSI disability benefits can begin is the protective filing date on the SSI disability application.
The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials