BASIC (06-06)

DI 10105.070 Waiting Period for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)

A. Present rule

Before entitlement to DIB can begin, the number holder (NH) must have served a waiting period consisting of 5 full calendar months unless the NH meets the condition found in DI 10105.075.

This period is long enough to permit most temporary disabilities to be corrected or for the individual to show definite signs of probable recovery.

The waiting period begins in the first month, no earlier than 17 months prior to the month of filing, (18 months prior to January 1973), in which:

  • The NH has been under a disability for the entire month; i.e., the date of onset is on or before the first day of the month; and

  • The NH has DIB insured status.

  • See RS 00301.120 for the effect which the freeze provisions have upon DIB insured status when the date of onset occurs more than 17 months prior to the month of filing, (18 months prior to January 1973).

Entitlement to the DIB begins with the first full calendar month after the waiting period in which all other requirements are met, except where the NH limits the retroactivity of the application. For cases involving statutory blindness, see DI 10105.070D.

IMPORTANT: See NOTE: in DI 11015.020C.2. regarding a circumstance that does not require disability to exist throughout the month.

B. Waiting period prior to 1973

Prior to January 1973, the waiting period was 6 full calendar months rather than 5.

C. Waiting period prior to 11/60

Where the NH attained age 50 before 11/60, the first month of the waiting period could not be more than 6 months before the month in which this individual attained age 50. No waiting period could begin before 1/1/57.

Where a NH was under age 50 in 11/60 but disability began previously, it was possible for the waiting period to end before DIB could start. Entitlement could not start before 11/60 but the waiting period could start as early as the 18th month before the month of filing if the disability and insured status requirements were met then.

D. Waiting period for statutorily blind NH's in freeze status

A statutorily blind NH can be in freeze status but not entitled to DIB because:

  • He or she is under age 55 and able to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA); or

  • Is age 55 or over and able to engage in “comparable” SGA.

If this individual later becomes unable to engage in such SGA and is, therefore, eligible for DIB, he/ she must serve a waiting period before DIB payments can begin. This waiting period begins with the first full month the NH does not perform SGA. However, the number of months after age 55 in which the NH was engaging in “non-comparable” SGA can be counted as months in the waiting period if they fall within the period of disability. (See DI 26005.001 and DI 26005.005 for additional information)

If the NH's entitlement to cash benefits terminates, and he/she subsequently becomes re-entitled to cash benefits at a later date, he/she does not have to serve another waiting period if his/her period of disability freeze has been continuous. This is true even if his/her previous entitlement to cash benefits terminated more than 60 months prior to his/her new entitlement.

NOTE: When a disabled NH in freeze status ceases SGA, the NH must file a new application to be entitled to monthly disability benefits. DI 41001.001C. explains the program service center’s (PSC’s) responsibility for the SSA-833-C3 Cessation or Continuation Title II, SSA-833-U3 Cessation or Continuation of Disability/Blindness determination.


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DI 10105.070 - Waiting Period for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) - 04/18/2013
Batch run: 04/18/2013
Rev:04/18/2013