What is the five-month Social Security Disability waiting period?

It’s a period of time during which you don’t get paid benefits ― but many people don’t even notice.

If you apply and get approved for Disability benefits, there is a mandatory five-month waiting period before the Social Security Administration starts sending you money. You will get your first payment on the sixth full month after the date you became disabled, or your “onset date.”

Interestingly, most people probably won’t even notice the five-month Social Security Disability waiting period. Because there is a backlog of cases and the Disability process takes a long time, most people wait at least five months for their claim to be approved, anyway. If this is the case, then you won’t have to wait any longer once you get approved. That time has already been served and you’ll quickly start receiving monthly payments and, possibly, a lump sum of accrued Social Security Disability back pay.

If you get approved for Disability benefits right away, however, you will have to wait five full months before you receive your first monthly payment. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is.

The theory behind the five-month waiting period is to weed out those who don’t meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of Disability. To be approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you must suffer from a severe mental or physical condition that is expected to keep you out of work for at least a year, or result in death.

Social Security implemented the five-month waiting period to give short-term injuries and illnesses time to be corrected and to deter individuals who can work from applying for benefits. Basically, it ensures that they are not paying benefits to people who end up not having a long-term disability.

Please visit our FAQs page to see other questions like, What is the five-month Social Security Disability waiting period?

Like most aspects of Disability process, the five-month waiting period is difficult to understand. The experienced lawyers at McDonald Law Firm are skilled in all aspects of Disability law and would be happy to answer any additional questions you have. We would also be glad to handle your Disability application or appeal. Call us today at 855-702-9061 or fill out the form on this page and we’ll get started immediately.

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