How a Disability Onset Date is Established

How a Disability Onset Date is Established

Disability Onset Date
The Importance of Your Disability Onset Date

When you first apply for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to report your disability onset date. This is the date on which you became disabled. The date is important since you can get retroactive benefits from as far back as 12 months from the date that you applied. That is as long as your disability onset date was 17 months before the date you applied. This is because there is a five-month waiting period after your onset date during which you do not receive payments.

Determining Your Disability Onset Date

Your disability onset date is important for other reasons as well. For example, the disability onset date could affect your monthly benefit amount and whether you will receive future or subsequent benefits. However, the Social Security Administration won’t just take you at your word. Which is why the disability onset date that you provide is referred to as the Alleged Onset Date.

The Social Security Administration will then look at all the information that’s available to determine what they think the disability onset date was. Once determined, their conclusion becomes the Established Onset Date. In some cases, the Established Onset Date may be exactly the same as your Alleged Onset Date. But in others, it may differ. If it is different, it could affect the amount of your retroactive pay.

The following are some of the factors that the Social Security Administration will consider when determining the Established Onset Date:

  • Work history – They will look at your work history to see exactly when you stopped working. Your onset date can’t be months before you stopped working. If it does it could mean that your disability wasn’t serious enough at the time to prevent you from working.
  • Medical records – While medical records don’t generally provide an exact date, they can provide valuable information. The Social Security Administration can use it to get a good idea of your disability onset date. Especially, if you went into the hospital for treatment of something that turned out to be a symptom of your disability. Of course, in the case of serious injuries, medical records will be more helpful. For example, if you were in a car accident that caused a serious back injury that required immediate medical attention.5

What if the Established Onset Date is Different?

If the Social Security Administration has decided that your Alleged Onset Date is not accurate, it could greatly affect your back pay. Especially, if their Established Onset Date is more than a few months after your Alleged Onset Date. In such a case, you could appeal the decision and have your entire claim reviewed. They could then decide the amount awarded was incorrect. Which could result in revocation of your Social Security Disability Insurance.

If the Established Onset Date is only a month or two off from your Alleged Onset Date, it may not be worth this risk. Additionally, if your Alleged Onset Date was less than 17 months prior to your application date, then your retroactive payment amount wouldn’t change. So there’s no point in appealing. The only time you should consider appealing is if the difference is going to cost you significantly. Or, you have new medical evidence or they made an obvious error in their determination.

For more advice about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or about determining your disability onset date, be sure to call us at 602-952-3200 to set up a free consultation. You can also reach us online via our contact form and our LiveChat feature.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

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