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What is the Onset Date for Social Security Disability?
When you file for Social Security Disability (SSDI), part of the application process is establishing a timeline of your medical history related to your disability. In that timeline, the most important date you’re going to have to include is what is called the onset date. The onset date is the date you claim your disability began. In reality, it might actually be on a specific day — the day you were injured, for example — or it might not really be one day — in the event of an illness or other condition that kept getting worse until it just became too much. Either way, it will be up to you to provide the SSA with a specific onset date.
Why is the Onset Date Important?
This information is important because you might actually be eligible to receive retroactive payments based on that information. With SSDI, an applicant is able to get this retroactive pay for as far back as 17 months before the date he or she applied — minus an SSA-mandated five month waiting period during which SSDI payments are not owed. So, if you were injured in January of 2016, but for some reason did not become approved for benefits until March of 2017, then you could get retro benefits for some of that time (in this case, it’s been 14-months from the onset date until approval, so you could get retro pay for nine of those months).
What Happens if the SSA Denies Your Claimed Onset Date?
This is where the onset date can get tricky. If the SSA denies your claimed onset date, then they may refuse to pay the retroactive payments you are owed. In situations where you have been going through the process or appeals for a long time this could mean a difference of several thousands of dollars. They may decide on a different onset day, based on the records provided, or they may just assume your disability began when you initially filed. This is why keeping thorough medical records are necessary for any SSDI case. If you can prove your onset date is legitimate, then you should be okay. If you can’t, however, then you really have very little recourse to help get the payments you deserve.
What Are the Options if the SSA denies or changes the Onset Date?
If the SSA decides your claimed onset date is wrong, then you can appeal that decision. At this point, though, hiring a disability lawyer is a good idea, if you haven’t done so already. You might have to present evidence to the Disability Determination Services, or you might have to make a case in front of a hearing officer. Either way, with so much at stake, having the best defense ready is the only way to make your case as strong as possible.
If you would like to know more about onset dates and how they can affect you, don’t hesitate to contact us today.