If you are approved for Social Security Disability Benefits, your date of entitlement to disability will be dependent on the date you made the Social Security Administration aware of your intent to file for Social Security Disability. In the case of SSI, which is a need-based program, your date of entitlement to disability (should you qualify) is usually the date on which you made your intent to file known. As pertains to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your date of entitlement to disability is generally five months after the date on which you made your intent officially known.
The rationale behind this is that SSI is needs based. You only qualify for disability if your assets amount to less than $2,000 plus your car and home. If you are disabled and in need of SSI, by definition, you lack the financial means to support yourself. Because of this, your date of entitlement to disability is effective the date you filed and you are likely entitled to back pay. SSDI, on the other hand, is designed for those who have been working prior to the disability. It is expected that Workers Compensation, Disability Income insurance, and other means will support the disabled worker during his first five months of disability. Therefore, the date of entitlement to disability is subject to a waiting period.
To be considered disabled, for purposes of determining Social Security Disability Benefits, it must be shown that you have a disability which can reasonably be expected to last more than a year or to end in your death. The five month waiting period which determines your date of entitlement for disability for SSDI is in place partly to make sure that people receiving Social Security Disability Benefits are actually disabled by SSA standards.
It cannot be stressed enough that you should inform the SSA of your intent to file when you first begin to think you may be facing a disabling condition which could last more than a year. If you’re not sure, get your intent to file on record just in case. There is no penalty for failing to file after you’ve stated your intent, and your date of entitlement for disability benefits is based on the date on which you originally made your intent to file officially known.
When you are approved for Social Security Disability Benefits, you will generally be awarded back pay dating back to your date of entitlement to disability. Because the date of your initial filing is used to determine your date of entitlement to disability, it is in your best interest to file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you think you might be disabled.