Why does Social Security take five months of benefits from you when you are awarded?
The reason I am writing is I have a question for you. I was dealing with an appeal and back pay for SSD and I finally won recently. However, they shorted me exactly five months pay. It would have been the first five months my disability started. However, they paid my lawyer the full 21% of what I was expecting.
I realized immediately when I received my check this monies, (which turned out to be exactly the first five months) was missing. Every time I called Social Security... They wouldn't give me a straight answer. Moreover, I have no debt. I don't have any outstanding lawsuits. Workers comp. Child support. IRS. Nothing. They owed me almost 19k and sent me a bit more than 13k.
Now my lawyer is paid and he is another story. But he doesn't want to bother with it. Furthermore, he is the one that told me that Social security always gets the first five months of $ from every case.
Now this was the first I'd ever heard this and to top that off, while your going in disability you are getting new letters every day explaining everything from Medicare to your SSD check! Yet the only thing I never received was a letter or explanation with a break down of my monies.
Can you help me please before its too late to appeal. Or confirm that its true and why.
Yes, there is, in fact, something known as the "five month waiting period". It simply means that for a Social Security Disability case (the rule does not apply to SSI cases), the Social Security Administration will withhold the first five months of a recipient's benefits. It is analogous to an elimination period on an insurance plan.
To answer your last question, you cannot appeal losing the first five months of your back pay to the "five month waiting period". Sad to say, it is simply how the disability program works and, as far as I am aware, title II Social Security Disability has always worked this way. Should it be this way? In my opinion, no.
Supposedly, the five month waiting period was put into place under the assumption that people who file for disability have short term disability insurance coverage which would, under that assumption, pay benefits for several months. However, this is a very, very silly assumption to make...since even the Social Security Administration does not provide STD coverage for its own employees.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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