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Key Dates For Determining Retroactive Payments For Social Security Disability


Many people will file an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) immediately upon becoming eligible, while others have reason to wait despite having a disabling medical condition. A common reason involves diagnosis: You may not have a definitive answer from health care providers or know if your ailment will last at least 12 months. These are important factors Social Security Administration (SSA) officials use to determine SSDI eligibility, so it might make sense for you to delay and file the application when all information is available.

However, there may be a gap for some applicants who wait. In hindsight, you were eligible for several months before applying and would rightfully be entitled to benefits for this time. SSA does account for this gap by making retroactive payments, and there are ways to maximize your benefits. A Maryland Social Security disability lawyer can assess whether you qualify and assist with obtaining retroactive disability payments, and some background is useful.

Dates SSA Reviews for Retroactive Payments: Assuming you meet eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to retroactive benefits for the time period from the date you became disabled and the date that SSA approves your SSDI application. Therefore, the relevant dates are:

  • Alleged Onset Date (AOD): The default rule is that your disabling medical condition began on the day that you file your application for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Established Onset Date (EOD): If you were suffering from a disability well before applying, you may qualify to use this date instead of the AOD.
  • SSA’s Waiting Period: All approved applications for SSDI are still subject to a mandatory wait period of 5 months, which begins after the onset date – whether the AOD or EOD is used. SSA does not issue any payments during the waiting period.

Strategies for Maximizing Retroactive Payments: Under SSA rules, retroactive payments may be paid for up to 12 months prior to the date that your SSDI application was approved. As a result, you will want your onset date to go back as far in time as possible. The most favorable tactic is to use EOD instead of the AOD, but you will need solid proof that you were disabled for the time period before applying.

Your medical records are always critical when applying for SSDI benefits, as these documents contain the diagnosis, treatment and attempts at treatment, physical limitations, and many other details about your condition. To leverage the EOD and receive retroactive payments, the timing and dates on your medical records take on new importance. If approved, your benefits are paid in a lump sum for the number of months you were disabled before filing.

A  Maryland SSDI Attorney Will Explain How Retroactive Disability Payments Work

Our team at the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC can help you understand eligibility for retroactive benefits, and we are ready to support you in obtaining payments if you qualify. For more information, please contact our offices in Maryland to set up a free case review with a knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer.

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