When you fill out an application for disability benefits, The Social Security Administration (SSA) will ask for a concrete date on which you believe that your disability began.
For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases, this is called the alleged onset date, or AOD. You are stating that you have been unable to work since this date.
Oftentimes, it is the date on which you last worked, or the date you had an injury or were diagnosed with a particular condition. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases, for the most part, the alleged onset date is the same as the date of the application for benefits.
When Social Security later decides your disability case, it is really making two decisions: whether you meet the SSA disability criteria, and when your disability began (known as your established onset date of disability).
In some cases, the SSA will disagree with the date that applicants claim their disability began. If you cannot provide Social Security with conclusive medical evidence that proves when your disability began, the SSA can establish its own date of injury or illness, usually later than you alleged.
If the SSA finds that you became disabled later that you stated on your application, this means that you will receive less in back pay (or sometimes no back pay at all).
Therefore, it is very important to prove not just that your conditions persist or are getting worse, but that they have prevented you from working since the date you alleged on your application.
It is also very important to furnish solid medical evidence to establish the onset date. Let’s say you have debilitating back pain that prevents you from being able to hold down a job, but you don’t see a doctor or get an MRI confirming a disabling back injury for a year.
Or, maybe you have been unable to work for some time, but you were more recently diagnosed with an additional condition that makes work even more difficult.
If the SSA only finds your disability began as of a more recent diagnosis or more recent treatment, you risk losing out on back pay.
The disability lawyers at Nash Disability law advise individuals who are thinking about applying for the disability benefits they have rightfully earned to focus on the big picture and document their disability and their treatments, in detail, from the very beginning. See “The Secret To Winning Your Disability Case.”
It is equally important to get the right advice. Don’t take advice from friends, neighbors, or your brother-in-law. Because every disability case is different and there can be a lot of money at stake, an experienced Social Security disability attorney can offer you knowledgeable guidance and knows how to argue for the most favorable onset date possible.
Additionally, you can appeal a partially favorable decision, but it’s not always the smartest play. A disability lawyer can advise you on the benefits and drawbacks to appealing a disability denial.
The experienced Chicagoland disability attorneys at Nash Disability Law stand ready to offer you expert advice and to fight for your rights and we only get paid if you win your case.