There is a 5 month waiting period that needs to be observed before you can collect Social Security Disability benefits. The purpose of this waiting period is most likely to discourage people who will not have long term disabilities from applying for benefits. Benefits can only be paid after you have been disabled continuously for a period of five full calendar months or more.
The five month waiting period begins on the established onset date (EOD). However, you can fill out your claim immediately if you know your disability will be long term or permanent. It takes months for your claim to be processed and to have a decision made. The five month waiting period often passes during this time. You would be entitled to benefits beginning five months from the time you became disabled. You can receive back pay for all the months you were disabled but had not been approved minus the five month wait period. So if you became disabled in February but you claim was not approved until December, you would be able to receive back pay benefits for you would receive payment for July, August, September, October, November and December. Also, if you claim begins in the middle of the month, your five month wait would be more like 5 ½ months because the wait time is five full calendar months. For most claimants, the five month waiting period is not really noticed since you probably will not have had your claim processed and approved before this time passes.