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How Is The Five Month Waiting Period Calculated?


Benefit payments to you, as a worker or as a dependent, do not begin until the disability has existed for five (5) full months. You start earning benefits on the first of the month following five months.

When Social Security determines that you are disabled, it will also determine an Onset Date-the official date you became unable to work.

The Onset Date has nothing to do with when you applied. The Onset Date is determined by Disability Determination Services (DDS) through the examination of your medical records.

The Onset Date is the date when your waiting period starts.

You become eligible for benefits five full calendar months after the onset date.

For Example: May 17 was your last day of work due to your health condition. You do not get around to applying for SSDI until March of the following year.

Your medical records show that you became unable to work because of your health condition the day you stopped working - May 17.

Social Security reviews your application and records. It declares that you are disabled and agrees that the Onset Date was May 18 (the first day you were unable to work).

Five full months from an Onset Date of May 18 is November 1. May doesn't count since it was not a full calendar month. Therefore, you are eligible for benefits on November 1, the first of the month following five full months of disability.

Although you didn't apply until the following March, Social Security will pay you retroactive benefits back to November 1.

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