Social Security 5 Month Waiting Period Explained

Contemplation

If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI or DIB), you may be surprised that Social Security keeps the first 5 months of back benefits.

This is referred to as the “5 month waiting period.”

If you awarded benefits back to January 1st, Social Security actually keeps the benefits for January, February, March… all the way through May.  Your disability insurance benefits will start in June.

What?!?!  But, it is my money!

I know! But, that is how the system works!

However, there is an exception to the 5 month waiting period.

Bear with me while I go over some basics:  Disability Insurance benefits can only be paid 12 months prior to the Protected Filing Date (PFD).

If your PFD is January 2014, at most you can get benefits back to January 2013. If your Alleged Onset Date (AOD) is January 2013, Social Security applies the 5 month waiting period (keeping your benefits for January through May) and your benefits begin to paid as of June 2013.

Here is the exception to the Social Security disability benefits 5 month waiting period: if your Alleged Onset Date (AOD) is 5 months or more BEFORE the 12 month maximum back payment period, you do not lose 5 months of benefits?

What? Go over that part again.

Let me put it another way. If your Alleged Onset Date is 17 (or more) months before the protected filing date (PFD), you are eligible to get the maximum 12 months of back benefits prior to Protected Filing Date.

Just keep in mind that you cannot just pick a date 17 months before you applied as your Alleged Onset Date (AOD) and leave it at that.  You have to prove you were disabled back to the Alleged Onset Date. The further back you have to prove your disability, the more difficult your case becomes.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • lorif

    I have chronic pain from Ankylosing Spondolytitis, a type of Rhematoid Arthritis, and have had this disease for roughly 5-6 years. My Dr's records for chronic pain go back about 15 years. For the past 6m I have been filing unemployment. I just recently decided to file for disibility being that I was too ill & in too much constant pain to be able to go back to work. Do you have any advice on the next seriers of steps to take to make a judge take my case seriously. Thanks so much.

  • lorif

    I have chronic pain from Ankylosing Spondolytitis, a type of Rhematoid Arthritis, and have had this disease for roughly 5-6 years. My Dr's records for chronic pain go back about 15 years. For the past 6m I have been filing unemployment. I just recently decided to file for disibility being that I was too ill & in too much constant pain to be able to go back to work. Do you have any advice on the next seriers of steps to take to make a judge take my case seriously. Thanks so much.

  • Bugstav40

    if stoped working in feb. of 09 and applied for disability in feb of10 how far back do i get my money

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk
  • Jseall

    My late husband died before ever receiving his disability.  Diagnosed in April 2006 with terminal cancer, died in October 2006.  Applied, qualified BUT HAD TO WAIT 5 MONTHS WAITING PERIOD even though SS knew he was terminal. He never drew a dime.  I know there are others like him.  I tried having legislation introduced, nowhere with that.  Legislation has been introduced, introduced, introduced.  I need a lawyer to file a class action.  I’m in Mississippi.  Would love comments, suggestions, your thoughts.  There is nothing in place in the Social Security rules that has to do with “terminal” persons.  SS just waits for them to die!!  I’ve written SS, President, my congressmen,  nothing – no help, nadda. Even had HR2713 bill introduced.  It died for lack of help.  Would love some help with this!   jseall@seallrealty.com

  • Holly

    I was finally diagnosed right with “Parsonage-turner syndrome.” I have been going to college online and putting up with the pain, but there is know why I can work right now. I am still in pain with my arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. My fingers are even crocked. I had been miss diagnosed for over a year and a half. This happened January 2010 and now it’s August 2011. May I go back to the beginning to file for disability? 
    Thank you very much. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PD2CSQR2JBJC43J32RLT6JET54 Hollysjem

    I was finally diagnosed right with “Parsonage-turner syndrome.” I have been going to college online and putting up with the pain, but there is know why I can work right now. I am still in pain with my arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. My fingers are even crocked. I had been miss diagnosed for over a year and a half. This happened January 2010 and now it’s August 2011. May I go back to the beginning to file for disability? 
    Thank you very much.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Holly,

    An individual can claim any date as the “onset date” for disability. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/04/what-is-an-alleged-onset-date-aod/However, Social Security can pay benefits only 12 months prior to the filing date of a SSDI claim and back to the filing date of a SSI claim. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/04/how-far-back-does-social-security-pay-benefits/

    Good Luck!

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    The 5 month waiting period affects how much of one’s benefits a person receives. Basically, SSA withholds the first 5 months unless a person claims disability 17 months prior to the filing date. 

    However, SSA can and will expedite cases for dire needs and terminal illness cases certainly qualify: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/10/speeding-up-a-social-security-case-for-dire-need/

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  • Rosetopaz5

    I was approved 4/2010 for SSI disability at that time I was told and read on the internet that I could/would go on Medicare after 24 months. Which I calculate 5/2012,  I called Medicare, was told I would not go on Medicare until 10/2012, that I had to add on the 5 month waiting period to my starting date of Medicare.  Can you explain?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    See http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/06/i-won-my-disability-case-now-i-have-to-wait-for-medicare/

    The 5 month waiting period does not count because benefits are not paid for those 5 months.

  • nina

    I went to see the disabled judge July 22, 2014 . Received my fully favorable letter August 22, 2014. Now when will I receive a call from SS. And when will I receive my son’s benefits. Also I applied back in 2010 and have been denied since then I just kept appealing. Will I get paid all the way back then.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    That’s a nice fast decision from your judge. Would you mind letting people know who the judge was and what city/state?

    Benefits are often processed 30 to 90 days after the decision. This will often include auxiliary benefits such as benefits to minor or disabled children. Of course, auxiliary benefits are only available in SSDI cases (not SSI).

  • nina

    I honestly dnt no if I could use her name but she’s a disability judge in Detroit Michigan.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    No worries. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.

    It helps when people are searching for how long it takes to get a Social Security disability hearing decision in Detroit.

    Cheers Nina!

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    While auxiliary benefits are often processed automatically, it doesn’t hurt to call the local SSA office to confirm they have the children listed on the claim and will be processing their aux benefits.

  • nina

    No problem. But not to mention I’ve been fighting for disability for my son since July 2010 @ the time he was only 2. Yes it takes a very long time here. But I’ve been patient. But u cnt give up just keep appealing