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SSD and the Five-Month Waiting Period

There is one aspect of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits that we haven't discussed much in this blog. It's not the backlog, it's not the low claims approval rate, it's not the mistakes made by the regional offices that process claims. It is the standard five-month waiting period that affects everyone who receives benefits, including the dying, the severely disabled and the blind.

Here's how the waiting period works: If you became disabled yesterday, applied for SSD benefits today and were approved tomorrow, you would still have to wait five months to receive benefits. If your disability began a year ago and you applied today and were approved tomorrow, your retroactive benefits would be for only seven months. People die waiting, even when their disabilities are obvious to everyone - their doctors, their families and the Social Security Administration (SSA).?p>

This five-month waiting period is part of the law that authorizes the SSA's operations. In fact, the waiting period used to be six months. The idea behind the waiting period is that a five- or six-month wait will screen out people who can work or those whose disabilities are temporary. This has been the case from the beginning of the SSD program in the 1950s.
Some members of Congress have tried to change this. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced a bill in 2013 that would eliminate the waiting period. In 2012, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives. In both instances, the bills were referred to subcommittee and were never acted upon. However, the Senate bill was reintroduced last week.

The bill would provide immediate benefits for those determined by two independent physicians to be dying. Even with this change, however, terminally ill workers would not receive full benefits immediately - payments would be phased in. If a worker survives for 12 months, subsequent benefits would be cut to pay back the equivalent of the five-month waiting period. If a worker lives for three years or more, the payment would never rise above 95 percent of the full benefit amount.

The five-month waiting period is just one of the many challenges faced by those applying for benefits, even when an applicant is clearly eligible. If you are having any type of challenge with your claim or appeal for benefits, get help that can make the process easier. Do what many others have done: Call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story, and learn how they can help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve. Source:

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