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The 5 Month Waiting Period: Why it Exists and How it May Impact Your SSDI Claim

Social Security has established a five-month waiting period for receiving benefits from the time you were disabled. The Social Security Administration established this waiting period to ensure that benefits would not be paid to people with short-term disabilities. Essentially, Social Security wanted to ensure that an individual was disabled before paying them. However, many people argue the five-month waiting period is outdated and unfair. Specifically, during this waiting period the disabled person is either not working or earning less than the substantial gainful employment. However, as of the date this blog post is being written the five-month waiting period still exists and has yet to be changed.

The five-month waiting period only applies to those who have been approved to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI or Title 2 disability benefits). This means that Social Security will essentially withhold five months of SSDI benefits before starting monthly payments. It is important to note, the five-month waiting period does not affect or impact SSI benefits at all. Therefore, if you are eligible for both SSI and SSDI, you would receive SSI for the five-month waiting period and then SSDI benefits following. On the other hand, if you are only eligible for only SSDI benefits then the five-month waiting period affects when your monthly benefits start as well as any back pay you may receive. For example, if you filed for SSDI on October 1, 2021 and alleged you became disabled on August 1, 2021, your first payment would not start until January 1, 2022 (five months from August 1st) due to the five month waiting period. Another example would be if you filed for disability October 1, 2021 and alleged you became disabled November 1, 2020. You would receive backpay from April 1, 2021 to present. However, it is very important to note that your date of filing (DOF) and your alleged onset date of disability (AOD) have a huge impact on how the five-month waiting affects your claim. There are also some exceptions and nuances to the five-month waiting period. Therefore, having an experienced attorney to help you understand how the five-month waiting period may affect your individual benefits is extremely helpful.

Reference Link: https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/RS22220.pdf

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