Generally speaking, residents of West Virginia and other states are required to wait for a period of five months before they start receiving Social Security disability benefits. The waiting period begins in the month after the established onset date of the person's disability and ends five months after that. In some cases, it may be possible for a person to receive benefits without going through the five-month period but only under specific circumstances.
Because Social Security disability benefits are only paid for a maximum of 12 months prior to the applicant's protective filing date, there can arise situations in which the applicant gets the maximum 12 months of retroactive pay if they had been unable to work for 17 months or more prior to their protective filing date. The protective filing date is, broadly speaking, the date on which the applicant contacts the Social Security Administration to file for disability benefits.
It is not as simple as just choosing a date 17 months prior to filing, though, and claiming that's when the applicant was disabled. An administrative law judge will demand proof of the date the disability began. Proof in such cases typically means medical records and documents or statements from the physicians who treated the applicant. Some West Virginia applicants for disability benefits will be able to get Supplemental Security Income to cover the five-month waiting period.
Individuals in West Virginia who believe that they are entitled to payment from the Social Security Administration might want to meet with an attorney. An attorney who handles Social Security Disability claims might be able to help by gathering medical records and putting together a claim for submission to the relevant government body. An attorney might be able to appeal a denial of benefits or communicate with Social Security officials on the client's behalf.