What’s this waiting period? One of the most confusing aspects of getting Social Security disability benefits is the 5 month waiting period. Working with our clients here in Colorado, I am often asked why they will not get benefits back to when they became disabled. Social Security disability beneficiaries have to serve a 5 full calendar month waiting period after the onset date of their disability before they become entitled to monthly benefits. So for example, if you are found disabled by Social Security on January 15, 2006, your 5 month waiting period is February, March, April, May and June so you become entitled to monthly in July 2006. The reason for the 5 month waiting period according to the Social Security Administration is that Social Security Disability Benefits are benefits for workers and the Social Security Administration assumes workers have either savings set aside or private disability insurance for the first few months of a period of disability. I’m not sure if that is or ever was a good assumption for SSA to make but that is the law. Social Security’s other disability program, Supplemental Security Income or SSI has no waiting period. The onset date of disability of an SSI beneficiary is the first day of the month after the person applied for SSI benefits regardless of when their disabling condition actually began.
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