When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are required to indicate when you became disabled. This onset date of disability generally coincides with the date you stopped working because of your disability. It’s best to discuss this important date with your disability attorney when filing for benefits.
Onset Dates: Not Set in Stone
However, you need to understand that onset dates can be changed. In fact, an administrative law judge (ALJ) can amend your onset date based on evidence in your medical records or on the testimony provided at your hearing. The ALJ can determine that your original onset date of disability was not supported by medical evidence.
The important lesson to realize is that your onset of date of disability must be supported by the medical evidence to show that is when your impairment(s) became severe enough to prevent you from working any type of job on a full-time basis.
An ALJ may also amend your onset date of disability because the date is too far in the past. Typically, the most benefits will be paid back will be one year from the date of application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits claims or to the application date for Supplemental Security Income claims. For example, if you applied for Disability Insurance Benefits on January 1, 2018, and you reported that you became disabled back on January 1, 2011, the most Social Security will pay in back benefits will be to January 1, 2017. The ALJ will usually have you amend your onset date to a date more contemporaneous with the medical records and your application date. Additionally, the ALJ can have you amend your onset date to when you stopped working if you continued to work after your onset date. Again, the ALJ is attempting to find an onset of disability that is supported by the evidence in your file.
Your Disability Attorney May Challenge the Amended Onset Date
You do not have to accept an amended onset date offer from the ALJ at the hearing, especially if medical evidence supports the earlier onset date. But, typically when an ALJ is offering an amended onset date you can either infer the ALJ might be leaning towards finding you disabled or the ALJ is simply stating that the original onset is obviously not supported by the evidence in the record. Either way, it is important to find out what basis the ALJ is making for the amended onset date offer and then determine if accepting the amended onset date offer will be in your best interest. As always, it is best to have a disability attorney to represent you in your disability hearing to help you understand what the amended onset date offer means and whether it is something you should accept.
Talk to an SSI Disability Attorney
If you have any questions about a Social Security claim, contact a disability attorney at any of our offices across Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call (618) 266-4038 or submit the Contact Form on our website for a free consultation.