Why Is There A Waiting Period For Social Security Disability Benefits?


Posted by: Chris

People who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits must patiently wait to find out whether or not they are approved. The applicants that are approved are eager to start receiving their benefits, and understandably so. But unfortunately, many disabled individuals must wait even longer to receive their benefits due to the mandatory waiting period. Here’s what you should know about this frustrating stage in the process:

What is the Mandatory Waiting Period?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established a five month waiting period for disability benefits. Why? SSDI benefits are only awarded to people with long-term disabilities, which are conditions that last at least six months. The waiting period allows the SSA to verify that each applicant’s disability is still present after five months. As a result, the five-month waiting period ensures that benefits are never awarded to people with short-term disabilities.

How the Waiting Period Could Affect Benefits

You need to know the established onset date of your disability to determine when you will start to receive benefits. In most cases, the established onset date is the date your application was filed with the SSA. If you were disabled for a long time prior to filing an application, it’s important to ask your attorney to work with the SSA to have this date changed. 

The five month waiting period will begin on the established onset date, which means you should start to receive benefits at the start of the sixth month following this date.

For example, let’s say you apply for benefits on January 1stand are approved on February 1st. You will not start to receive benefits right away since you have not made it through the mandatory waiting period yet. You should start to receive benefits in June, which is the sixth month following your established onset date.

The waiting period does not always delay your first check. For example, let’s say you apply for benefits on January 1stand are not approved until September 1st. You had to wait more than five months for the SSA’s approval, so the mandatory waiting period is already over. Therefore, you should start to receive benefits shortly after you are approved.

Are you applying for SSDI benefits? If so, the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. can help. Let us stand by your side through every step of the application and appeals process to ensure you are awarded benefits as quickly as possible. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.