Social Security Disability Waiting period in Illinois

Waiting periods are a puzzling concept when it comes to Social Security Disability. There are actually two separate waiting periods that apply to SSD benefits. The first is the medicare waiting period that denies an approved disability claimant access to medicare coverage until two years from their date of entitlement.

The obvious question that comes up with regard to the two year waiting period is "Do I really have to wait 2 years before I get medicare?". It depends. The two year wait begins from something called your date of entitlement (this is where it gets confusing).

What is that? Your date of entitlement is your established date of onset (whenever the social security administration decides, based on your records, that your disability began) PLUS something called "the five month waiting period" (similar to an elimination period on an insurance policy).

As to whether or not you really have to wait two years to get medicare coverage, it all depends on 1. how far back you filed your claim, and 2. how far back your onset date is established (this is why it is so important to get all your records to the disability examiner or judge, not just the recent ones). In many cases, the two year wait will be "served" by the time a person has been approved for Social Security Disability.

Why does the two year medicare waiting period exist? I've never come across an explanation as to why. In essence, it is a cheat and unfair to individuals who have paid into the system.

The second type of waiting period is something we already mentioned: the five month waiting period.

What is this? Basically defined, it is a five month period for which a person who has been approved for Social Security Disability is ineligible to receive benefits. So, if you get approved for benefits and your established medical onset date is January 1st, you won't actually be eligible to receive a monetary benefit until July 1st.

Obvious question: Does this mean that you really have to wait five months before receiving benefits? No, because nearly all approved claimants have had to fight the system for months or even years, their onset date will be far enough back so that there will be no actual wait.

What the five month waiting period does do, however, is cheat you out of five months of your monthly benefits. And for no good reason whatsoever.

Some would use the argument that the five month waiting period takes into account the fact that some people have short term disability benefits. But the truth is, most people don't have short term disability benefits available to them. So, the five month waiting period is definitely a cheat.

However, again, it does illustrate the need to prove, as far back as possible, when your disability began. In other words, medical records are extremely important, and, in many cases, so is an attorney or non attorney representative in Illinois who does the necessary legwork required to get all your records.


1. How long does it take to get a disability hearing scheduled?
2. How long does it take to get a disability hearing?
3. How long does it take to get a decision after a disability hearing?
4. How to get a disability hearing scheduled faster?
5. Getting a faster disability hearing scheduled
6. Can an attorney get you a faster disability hearing?
7. Disability hearing decision timeframe
8. ALJ disability hearing decisions
9. What to expect at a disability hearing
10. What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
11. After a disability hearing, what happens?

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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