5 Month Waiting Period: What's the Wait?

By: Alexander Sioutis | Social Security Disability Attorney


Applying for Social Security Disability is a complicated process. One particularly confusing aspect for many of our clients is the five month waiting period during which Social Security will not pay you Disability benefits. For example:


John is 50 years old and has been a life-long construction worker from South Philadelphia. As time passes, John begins realizing that his back has increasingly been hurting him more and more and that he's finding it difficult to perform his job duties as a mechanic on a daily basis. Finally, after working through pain, John decides to stop working and apply for Social Security Disability.


He calls Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano who will assist him in filing for Disability benefits on January 1st, 2012. After the Initial Application Process, John is is awarded Disability benefits in July of 2012 and is found disabled as of the time of his filing: January 1st, 2012. Here is where the five month waiting period comes in. Although Social Security is finding John disabled as of January 1st, 2012, they will not pay him back to that date. The five month waiting period kicks in and John will first be eligible to receive benefits in June of 2012. He therefore will only receive 1 month of retroactive pay, or back pay, as opposed to six!


The date of which benefits will begin from is called the Entitlement Date. This 5 month waiting period also applies to medicare eligibility as well.


The Social Security website states: "The five month waiting period ensures that during the early months of disability, we do not pay benefits to persons who do not have long-term disabilities.  Social Security disability benefits can be paid only after you have been disabled continuously throughout a period of five full calendar months. Therefore, Social Security disability benefits will be paid beginning with the sixth full month after the date your disability began.  You are not entitled to benefits for any month in the waiting period." http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/151/~/waiting-period-for-social-security-disability


What do you think about the 5 month waiting period? Feedback is always welcome. If you have any questions regarding the 5 month waiting period or any other Social Security Disability or SSI questions, visit us at Pond Lehocky.

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