When you become unable to do your job and apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you are allowed to collect payments from the time you become disabled. The Alleged Onset Date (AOD) is the date the Social Security Administration uses to determine how much, if any, back pay you are entitled to. This payment is usually a lump-sum payment and could result in thousands of dollars in payments for you. Here is how to determine the AOD and how it could affect your benefits.
How much retroactive, or back payment, could you receive?
The SSA limits back pay to 12 months prior to the time of your application approval date. However, there is a five-month waiting period added to the date that you became disabled. For example, if you became disabled in January of 2012, you may need to wait until June of 2013 to apply and receive the maximum amount of back pay allowed.
Note that you will only be eligible for a maximum of 12 months of back pay, since the five-month waiting period does not count toward the AOD. Consider also that the time that elapses between your application date and the date the SSA approves your application is counted as a potential back payment–eligible time period. The takeaway here is to apply as soon as you can, since it will take months to get approval, but you may be eligible for back pay. The amount you receive for back pay depends on your wages and number of years of work you have done.
What If the SSA denies you your back pay?
The SSA will review the facts of the claim, or the material facts, to determine the validity of your AOD and could disagree with your AOD. This frequently occurs when claimants fail to seek medical care for their condition during the back pay time period, and therefore have no evidence to support the AOD. When the SSA denies your AOD, they reset the date that they have determined to be correct and call it EOD, or established onset date. This could cause your back pay benefits to be reduced significantly, and you have the right to appeal this ruling.
Getting your full retroactive payment is a complicated process, so make sure that you have the help and advice of a Social Security attorney like Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law to guide you through this lengthy and frustrating process. With help, you can get the benefits and back pay that you are entitled to receive.