Why Is There A 5 Month Wait For Social Security Disability Benefits?

A common question is “Why Is There A 5 Month Wait For Social Security Disability Benefits?” There are several reasons one must wait 5 months for the first Social Security Disability payment. Social Security Disability is only for long term disability that lasts more than 5 months. There is also a 5 month waiting period if one has been on Social Security Disability, returns to work for 36 months or longer, and then reapplies for Social Security Disability.

Long Term Disability

The Social Security website, http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/151/kw/5%20months%20social%20security%20disability, defines long term disability as being disabled continuously for at least 5 months. If one applies for Social Security Disability during the first month of being fully disabled, Social Security, is required to wait 5 months to be sure the applicant has a long term disability. There are no payments accrued or paid for the first 5 months of disability.

Trial Work Period

The Social Security Website, http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/317/kw/employment%20and%20social%20security%20disability, explains the trial work period. Social Security offers a trial work period, so one can test their ability to work. During this period, one still receives Social Security Disability benefits. The trial work period will end when one has earned more than $720 per month for any 9 months out of a 60 month rolling period. Once one has exceeded the 9 month limit, Security Disability benefits will continue until one earns $1,000 or more per month. At the $1,000 per month earning level, all Social Security Disability benefits will end.

Disability After Returning To Work

One must reapply for Social Security Disability if one becomes disabled after successfully returning to work. The 5 month waiting period will begin again while the applicant proves there is a long term disability. No payments will be paid or accrued during the first 5 months the applicant re-establishes eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

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