U.S. Representatives from Iowa and Pennsylvania have proposed an amendment to the Social Security Act that would exempt disabled service members from the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability benefits. The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act would not change eligibility criteria for SSDI benefits for returning military personnel, but would speed up the process of actually receiving financial benefits for those injured in a combat zone.
A similar bill was introduced last fall but failed to make it out of committee. This bill, HB 1488, was reintroduced on April 11.
SSDI’s Five Month Waiting Period
Once SSDI benefits are applied for, there is a five-month waiting period before benefit checks or direct deposits begin. In most cases, this waiting period is exhausted by the time the disability insurance application process is completed and SSDI benefits are approved. For those who receive expedited approval of an SSDI application, the five-month waiting period can seem like an arbitrary timeframe that is needlessly pushing out the start date for benefits.
The five-month waiting period actually begins on the established onset date (EOD). The EOD may be up to 17 months before the date of the disability insurance application or it may be a date after the application.
There are existing exceptions to the five-month waiting period that your disability insurance attorney can explain to you if they apply to your own unique situation.
Source: North Central PA, “Reps. Thompson, Loebsack Introduce Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act,” April 12, 2013