Are There Exceptions to the SSDI Five-Month Waiting Period?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Those who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will begin receiving their monthly income from the Social Security Administration (SSA) five months after their established onset date (the date at which they first qualified as disabled).  This five month waiting period can leave a disabled individual without income for a long time, as most applicants for benefits have to quit their jobs because of their condition and/or to ensure eligibility for benefits. 

Because you are likely concerned about how you will pay for bills and costs of living during the time you wait for benefits to begin, many applicants wonder whether there are any exceptions to the SSDI five-month waiting period. 

Are There Exceptions to the Five-Month Waiting Period for SSDI Benefits?

There are two exceptions to the five-month waiting period before SSDI benefits can begin. The first exception is for benefits available to dependents. If you are the dependent of a disabled worker and are seeking benefits, you will not be subject to the five month waiting period. The second exception exists for people who are applying for reinstatement of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you were receiving SSDI benefits and you subsequently went back to work, you will be eligible for expedited reinstatement of disability benefits. This not only means that you are not subject to the five-month waiting period, but also that you are going to be eligible for benefits without going through the entire application process again. 

Outside of these situations, there are no exceptions to the five-month waiting period. Everyone who receives SSDI benefits is subject to it, even people who have a compassionate allowance condition (CAL) and who are thus eligible for prompt processing of their benefits claim.  Applicants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, are not subject to a waiting period and their benefits can begin immediately. This means that if you have limited or no income and few assets, you may wish to consider an SSI application. 

An experienced Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to determine if you fall within an exception to the five-month waiting period and can provide guidance on your options for sources of interim income when you wait for a benefits claim to be approved and the Social Security Administration to begin paying. Call today to learn more about your options.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.