Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period

Social Security disability requires a five month waiting period beginning with the month following the month that an individual became unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) or work activity. For example, if a person become disabled on 06/11/2018 their five month waiting period will last through 11/30/2018. They will actually be entitled to their monthly Social Security disability benefits beginning 12/18.

Does an individual have to necessarily wait for five months after being given a social security disability award notice before they can begin receiving disability benefits? No, and that is because the five month waiting period may have already been “served” if a person’s onset date is set far enough back and particularly if the case has “dragged on” for many months, or perhaps years.

Determining a person's onset date can have a major effect on A) whether or not they are required to lose their first five months of benefits, B) whether or not they will have to wait to receive coverage under medicare, and C) how much back pay they may receive.

A claimant's onset date will be determined solely on the existence of medical records that document that the individual was, in fact, disabled as of a certain date. This is why disability representatives (meaning a claimant's disability representative or an attorney) typically seek to establish the most favorable onset date possible by seeking older as well as newer records. It is also why claimants who fail to file their appeals on time and then later reapply disadvantage themselves: by starting over with a new filing date, they potentially lose thousands of dollars in back pay.

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

Related pages:

How far back are Social Security disability benefits awarded on an appeal?
How long will it take to start getting disability benefits after an award notice?
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
The SSI Award Letter from Social Security
The Social Security Award Notice after Disability Benefits are Awarded
When Do You Get A Social Security Disability Award Letter And What Does It Say?
The Social Security Disability Five Month Waiting Period
Check Amount on Social Security Disability Award Letter
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
You Cannot get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award if you don't Provide SSA what they need
How Much Do You Get For Disability If You Are Awarded Benefits?
Does Your Last Job Determine If You Receive A Social Security or SSI Award?
Can Social Security Disability Benefits Be Awarded Quickly?
The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina
How is Social Security Disability and SSI Awarded?

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