Though I have been with this firm for half a decade, I still hear things that are new to me. Recently I overheard a coworker talking to a client about a 5 month hold on their Social Security Disability Benefits, and I felt compelled to ask about it more. My background is predominantly in VA Disability, and I’ve never heard of such a waiting period before. When I started asking around about it I was surprised to learn that it was actually true. If you are granted Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration will hold your first 5 months of benefits. This rule only applies to SSDI, not SSI. Honestly, this news was really upsetting. I had to do some research to find out why this amount was being held.
If you’re pursuing a disability claim, you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with this process so that you’re not caught off guard when you get approved. The five month waiting period starts when the SSA determines you became disabled. This is often referred to as an onset date. SSDI benefits begin accruing on the sixth month following the month in which you became disabled and qualified for benefits. For example, if you became disabled on March 14, 2001, and if you applied for benefits on March 21, 2001, your first month of entitlement would be September 2001. The Social Security Website goes on to state: Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they’re due. This means that the benefit due for December would be paid to you in January 2016, and so on. It’s also important to note that though this is called a hold, you will not actually receive the first five months of benefits.
At this point, the Social Security website informed me that there was a holding period, and they gave me a good example of when to expect payment, but I still wanted to know why this was being held. My only choice was to go back to Google and start searching again to find out why this was being held. Every link I clicked on in the results told me the same thing; yes, Social Security holds payments for 5 months. “But why,” I proclaimed from my desk.
I was so desperate for an answer I started bothering my coworkers. They meant well with their responses, but they were mostly diatribes about how they didn’t agree with the rule. I almost gave up. But then I remembered the inspiring words of someone who told me to refuse to take NO for an answer. I went back to my trusty friend, the internet. Surely this all knowing being who blesses me with cat videos and Minion Memes that have nothing to do with the Minions would be of some assistance. Then, in the eleventh hour, I found the answer I needed.
By now I had hoped that this was all some conspiracy set in place by the SSA and that my discovery would be earth shattering and would bring about social security reform…but no, that didn’t happen. It turns out that I am no hero, and that the rule actually makes sense. According to disabilitybenefitscenter.org, the period exists to ensure that during the early months of a qualifying disability, the Social Security Administration is not paying benefits to people who end up not having a long-term disability. So yes, this makes sense, but I still don’t agree with it. My reason is simple. There are a lot of disabilities that can warrant SSD benefits that won’t get better. One would think that this rule could be reformed. Then again, maybe I’m too idealistic.
The good news is that there are some great resources out there for individuals seeking disability, including attorneys. There may be some things an attorney can do for you to alleviate the burden of the 5 month waiting period. Call us today for a free consultation. If this isn’t a good time, fill out this form, and one of our specialists will call you at better time.