Yes. What many service members do not know is that they can collect disability benefits for past injuries, even though they may no longer be disabled. Veterans who did not file paperwork for Social Security disability due to deployment or active service or because they were unaware that they were eligible for the program may apply for Social Security for a closed period of disability as long as they:

  • File a benefit application within 14 months after the disability ended
  • Were unable to perform substantial gainful work for a period of 12 months (or more), but will be considered no longer disabled by the time they are granted a decision in their disability case

What Veterans Should Know About the Mandatory Waiting Period

If you are granted benefits for a closed period of disability, you should know that there is a mandatory five-month waiting period before your benefits can begin. While you may or may not have to wait five months for approval, what this essentially means is that you will not be paid for the five months after the end of your disability.

For instance, imagine that you filed your application for Social Security disability benefits in December 2014. Your injury began in January 2013 and your condition was no longer disabling as of January 2014. In this case, your five-month waiting period would run from February to June 2013, and you would receive benefits for the months from July 2013 to January 2014 (the date of improvement).

Not only could you potentially receive benefits from the day you apply for benefits, you could also be granted up to 12 months of retroactive benefits. These benefits are paid back to the date of your injury, assuming that is the day your disability began. We can tell you how much you could be owed, as well as other types of benefits you and your family could receive. Type your question into the chat box at the bottom of this page to talk to a representative.


Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer