Is There A Waiting Period To Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
It depends. For SSI claims, there is no waiting period to receive disability benefits. However, there is a 5-month waiting period for SSDI claims.
When you apply for disability, in both SSI and SSDI claims, you provide the Social Security Administration with an "alleged onset date" (AOD). This is the date you allege that you became unable to work due to your disability.
In an SSI claim, the earliest possible date that you can receive benefits is the date of your filing your disability claim with the Social Security Administration. For example, John filed for SSI on January 15, 2021 with an AOD of October 15, 2020. Even if John provides significant evidence that he was disabled as of his AOD, the earliest date which the Social Security Administration will find him disabled for purposes of receiving benefits is his filing date - in this case January 15, 2021. However, there is not a 5-month waiting period to begin receiving SSI benefits.
The Five-Month Waiting Period for SSDI Benefits
By contrast, there is a 5-month waiting period to begin receiving SSDI benefits.
As with a claim for SSI, someone applying for SSDI will provide the Social Security Administration with an AOD. In an SSDI claim, the Social Security Administration can potentially find you are disabled beginning on the AOD - even if the AOD is prior to the filing date. However, that does not mean that you will receive disability payments beginning that month.
In an SSDI claim, an individual can receive payments for up to 12 months prior to the date of the application. However, there is a 5-month waiting period before disability benefits will begin. Disability payments begin on the sixth full month after the date your disability is determined to have begun.
For example, John filed for SSDI on January 15, 2021 with an AOD of January 15, 2020. If the Social Security Administration determines that John was disabled as of his AOD, John will only start receiving disability benefits beginning with the month of July 2020. If, however, John had an AOD of January 15, 2019, and the Social Security Administration determined he was disabled as of his AOD, then his disability benefits will begin the month of January 2020 (which is 12 months prior to John's disability application date).