Understanding Your SSDI Onset Date

When Zach applied for disability benefits, he had to choose an “onset date.” He was not entirely clear what that term meant. Did it mean the date he first noticed symptoms or the date he was diagnosed? It possibly could be the day he went on medical leave from his job. When applying for benefits, it’s essential to understand what the SSDI onset date means.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

SSDI is a government benefit provided to individuals who are unable to work because of a disability. The Social Security Administration (“Social Security”) manages the SSDI program. This includes accepting and processing applications.

Applicants for SSDI also need to meet other requirements, including having earned the required number of work credits. Also, certain dates related to your disability can make a big difference in whether you get benefits and how much you will receive.

What is the SSDI Onset Date?

There are several types of onset date.

The first date is the alleged onset date (AOD). The AOD is the date you claim you became unable to work because of your medical condition. However, Social Security can change the AOD you put on your application. For example, you might claim your disability started on the date you were diagnosed with cancer. Social Security might decide that you were not truly disabled on that date, but instead, on the date you started receiving chemotherapy.

The established onset date is the date set by Social Security. Before changing your date, Social Security staff will look at factors like:

  • when you stopped working,
  • whether you started working against at some point, and
  • whether medical evidence exists that proves another date is your actual onset date.

Having Social Security change the SSDI onset date might not seem like a big deal. But it can be.

Why does the SSDI Onset Date Matter?

It’s probably most important if you are eligible for past-due benefits or back pay. This can get complicated. Your backpay or past-due benefits will be calculated from your SSDI onset date. You might claim an alleged onset date of 3/27/2019, but Social Security changes it to 3/27/2020. This change means that you might lose up to a year of SSDI benefits.

Of course, you can appeal if you disagree with Social Security’s decision. We strongly encourage you to let a Social Security attorney help you get the best benefit possible.

Applying for and Understanding SSDI Benefits Is Not Easy

The assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney can make all the difference. You will have someone by your side to help prepare and file paperwork and appeal a denial of benefits.

An experienced personal injury attorney may provide the necessary expertise to achieve success in any personal injury matter. The attorneys at Powell Law carry on the work of a law firm that spans generations and has represented thousands of Pennsylvanians over a period of 115 years. At Powell Law, it is our goal to protect and assert our clients’ rights effectively in any matter, including those involving personal injury.

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