How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
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Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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?
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10. What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
11. After a disability hearing, what happens?

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.