Five-Month Waiting Period

Social Security Attorneys Assisting Massachusetts Applicants

If you have been battling a long period of disability that has left you unable to work, the prospect of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a welcome relief. SSDI benefits can provide the necessary income to cover health expenses, rent, and food. However, it is important for applicants to understand that benefits do not always start on the day that an application for benefits is approved. Instead, the Social Security Administration institutes a five-month waiting period from an applicant’s disability onset date before they are distributed. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C, our Social Security lawyers can help people in many areas of Massachusetts evaluate how this waiting period might affect a claim for benefits.

Calculating the Five-Month Waiting Period

Under the SSA’s rules and regulations, a SSDI applicant cannot receive disability benefits until a five-month waiting period has elapsed. This waiting period runs from the established onset date of disability, rather than the date of application. While this could mean that an approved SSDI beneficiary will have to wait to receive benefits until the waiting period has run, the practical effect is that in most instances the five-month period will have run while the applicant is waiting for his or her application to be approved. For instance, if your established onset date is July 2015, but your SSDI application is not approved until February 2016 (many SSDI applications take a year or more to process), the five-month period would be complete by the time of approval. The applicant might even be entitled to backpayments for the additional months that he or she was waiting.

Additionally, if an applicant establishes a protective filing date, this can also help to minimize the delay in receiving disability payments.

Exceptions to the Five-Month Waiting Period

Although few disability applicants will actually have to wait to receive benefits after they are approved, due to the circumstances described above, there are also exceptions to the five-month waiting period rule. For instance, if you are a previous SSDI recipient who attempted to go back to work, but it did not work out, you may re-apply for SSDI benefits under the expedited reinstatement process. When reapplying through expedited reinstatement, an applicant does not have to wait five months before receiving benefits. Likewise, applicants seeking dependant benefits do not have to wait five months either.

Contact a Massachusetts Lawyer When Seeking Government Benefits

If you are applying for SSDI benefits and are concerned about how long you may have to wait before receiving your first payment, it is important to carefully calculate the established onset date of your disability as well as your application date. These are crucial factors in the calculation of benefits payments. If you are uncertain about when your established onset date is, or whether you have already exceeded your five-month waiting period, a qualified government benefits attorney can help you accurately determine the appropriate timeline. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C, our Massachusetts attorneys work with SSDI applicants on all stages of their applications. Contact our office at (800) 367-0871 or online. From our offices in Boston, we proudly serve applicants in Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Essex Counties, as well as New Hampshire and Rhode Island.