Topic Categories:

Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSDRC authored by

Ask a question, get an answer

Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?

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.

Additional information:

The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria