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Author: Jay Kennamer, McMahan Law Firm

Our Los Angeles Disability Lawyers Can Help You Understand How It Can Affect Your Benefits

When you apply for disability benefits, your alleged onset date (AOD) and established onset date (EOD) will be a vital factor in understanding your benefits. However, many applicants don’t know the difference or where to begin.

Don’t worry. The Los Angeles disability lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour focus exclusively on Social Security legal matters. We are here to help individuals in Los Angeles and across Southern California who have suffered a disability through the complex application process.

Determining Your Onset Date

The “alleged onset date,” or AOD, is the date that you state on your application that your disability began. Your AOD is not official until it is approved and verified by the Social Security Administration (SSA), who oversees all applications. At this point, your alleged onset date will become what’s known as the “established onset date” (EOD).  

The SSA can either agree or disagree with your AOD. Either way, the SSA’s determination will become the EOD for which your disability began. If the SSA approves your application and agrees with your alleged onset date, then that date becomes the established onset date. However, if they disagree and have evidence to prove your AOD wrong, the established onset date will be set to what the SSA believes to be the correct date.

Reasons the SSA May Change Your AOD

The SSA has a strict definition of what they constitute as a disability. Under their terms, you are considered to be disabled if:

  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.
  • You cannot perform the work you were previously doing due to your medical condition.
  • Your condition prevents you from adjusting to any other types of work for which you are qualified.

If you claim you became disabled on a certain date but didn’t meet all of the above criteria at that time, the SSA will likely adjust your AOD to the date they believe you became disabled. If your application proves you are disabled and incapable of working, it should be fairly easy to establish your onset date. However, your EOD may differ from your AOD if you do not have enough medical evidence to support the date you alleged that you became disabled.

The Importance of Your Onset Date

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Your onset date is important because it determines when you were first eligible for benefits and how much retroactive pay, or backpay, you are entitled to. With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can receive pay as far back as 12 months from the date that you apply. Keep in mind, however, that after your established onset date is determined, there is a five-month waiting period during which you are not owed any benefits. In other words, to obtain the full 12 months in backpay for SSDI benefits, your AOD would have to be at least 17 months before the date that you applied to account for the five-month wait.

Back payments are not available with Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you are approved for SSI, you will receive benefits from the month that you applied.

Your onset date is such a vital component of your application because you want to ensure you receive payment from the time that you became disabled, not the time at which you applied. For example, let’s assume you applied for benefits on 12/4/2018 and alleged that your disability began on 8/4/2018. If the SSA approves your application a year later on 12/4/2019 and agrees with your AOD of 8/4/2018, then you would be owed backpay benefits from 1/4/2019 (5 months after you claimed your disability began) to 12/4/2019 (the date on which you were approved).

However, if the SSA disagrees with your AOD and believes that your disability began later than what you claimed, they will establish a new onset date (EOD). This could mean fewer months of backpay and the difference of thousands of dollars.

For more information on your established onset date for disability benefits, visit the Social Security Administration’s website.

What Happens If the SSA Changes Your Alleged Onset Date?

In order to change your alleged onset date, the SSA must have substantial evidence that proves your AOD is incorrect and that its new established onset date (EOD) is correct. If the SSA challenges your AOD, it will evaluate when you last worked, all doctors’ reports, and any other medical evidence. It will use this information to determine your EOD.

If the SSA changes your alleged onset date to a later established onset date, causing you to lose backpay, you may be able to appeal their EOD. You can do this by asking the Disability Determination Services (DDS) or an administrative law judge to reconsider the SSA’s onset date.

Speak with a Lawyer First

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While you have the option to appeal the SSA’s established onset date if you believe it is incorrect, this can be tricky and have potentially negative impacts on your entire application.

For example, if you have been approved for benefits but decided to appeal the EOD to receive more backpay, there is a chance that the DDS or an administrative law judge could review your claim and decide to reverse your approval. For this reason, it’s always in your best interest to speak with a Los Angeles disability lawyer for guidance on appealing an EOD.

Applying or appealing for Social Security disability benefits can be complex and time-consuming. An attorney who is experienced in handling Social Security matters can make the process a little easier by reviewing your situation and helping you gather all the documents necessary for a successful application.

Have Your Questions Answered Today

The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour understands the difficulties life with a disability can present. If you are unable to work after suffering a debilitating injury or illness, you need a knowledgeable disability attorney by your side who can answer any questions you have about your disability claim, such as your disability onset date.

Don’t wait to seek guidance on obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call our law firm today at (800)-803-5090 or fill out our contact form to set up a free consultation.

About The Author

Jay Kennamer is a social security disability lawyer in Knoxville, Tennessee. Jay is a graduate of the Samford University Cumberland School of Law and has been practicing personal injury law in the state of Tennessee since 1993. Since 2000, Jay has worked for the McMahan Law Firm which also welcomes cases related to car accidents, truck accidents, workers’ compensation, and product liability.