Charlie, it generally takes that long (5 mos.) from the disability to the initial application. If it takes them a long time to make a decision, as it did with me, they pay a lump sum back payment retroactive to the date you first apply. I actually had been disabled for about 7 mos. before I decided to file for disability, as I kept thinking I would improve enough to keep working. Whatever the date you put as the date she became disabled, that's the date they will use. While I had hep C at the time and that made it impossible for me to work F/T, I had previously been denied SSD based on that alone. It was only after I had bilateral hip replacements and a revision--all within 7 mos.--that I filed a new application. So that took care of the waiting period, I guess, as I gave the 2nd surgery as the date of disability as it related to hip problems.
Since she is applying now, I don't think that your income when you retire will make a difference. However, they could possibly switch her at some point from an amount based on her own earnings to what it would be if it were half of your full amount--if that amount is greater than her own disability payment. I know when my ex-husband dies, I expect to be switched to his acct. At his death I get 100% of his SS. They do this automatically. There is so much that they do not tell you and they change things often.
Of course, they want you to have the basic info for the phone interview--date disability first occurred, dates of hospitalizations and names of hospitals, etc. They will send you a bunch of release forms so that they can obtain records, but I made it my business to obtain my own records and forward to them.
Do keep us posted!
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland