When you file your applications for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to let the Social Security Administration (SSA) know what date your disability started. For people who suffered a disabling injury in an accident, this could be a relatively simple answer. However, often, there is not a clear answer to this question, as many disabilities develop over time.
That said, your disability onset date is an important decision, as selecting the wrong date can leave significant back benefits on the table. It might even impact your ability to receive benefits at all. Never hesitate to discuss this matter with an OC Social Security disability attorney if you are unsure.
The onset date you claim should be supported by specific evidence, including your medical records and your work history. The date might stem from a specific event, such as an accident or your admission to the hospital for a medical condition. Sometimes, it is the date of the diagnosis of your disabling condition or the last day you were able to work and earn income. No matter how you determine this date, it is important to have supporting evidence that your disability started on that date.
If you are unsure whether you can properly support a specific onset date, you should discuss the matter with a disability lawyer before submitting your applications.
Many people underestimate the importance of a correct disability onset date. You might wonder that as long as you prove you are disabled and start receiving benefits, why does it matter when you claim the disability started? There are two important considerations:
- You cannot receive benefits for the first five months of your disability.
- You can receive benefits for up to 12 months prior to the date of your application if you were disabled for that long (less the aforementioned five months).
The good news is that if you gave the wrong onset date to the SSA, you can amend it, even at your hearing. You will need to inform the proper office of your desire to change the onset date in writing or verbally with your Administrative Law Judge. You can also change this date in writing if you are awaiting a hearing for an initial denial.
No matter what your situation might be, you should discuss questions and concerns regarding your onset date – or other issues regarding your Social Security disability application – with an experienced attorney. Having legal representation is often worth it, as it can increase your chances of receiving full back benefits and future disability benefits. Contact us today.