When are SSDI Benefits Payable Should I be Approved for Benefits?

Assuming a Social Security disability claimant is found long term disabled under Social Security’s rules, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are payable as far back as one (1) year prior to one’s application date. Your Social Security lawyer will be looking to collect for you as far back as possible, and will look to see how far back you first applied for benefits. In every circumstance, an individual must also meet a full five month waiting period starting from the date one’s found disabled, before a benefit can be payable.

It is important to note that the filing date for purposes of one’s retroactive SSDI benefits is the date one establishes what is called a “protective filing” with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This is the first date that one contacts SSA and expresses their intent to file a claim for disability benefits. As long as a disability claimant follows through with the formal SSDI application within six (6) months of the protective filing date, SSA will recognize the initial contact with SSA as their official filing date. Protective filing dates can be established by calling SSA on the phone, by sending a letter in the mail or by completing the first section of the on line Social Security application form, as long as in the case of calling or sending a letter the individual expresses their wish to file an SSDI application.

In order to establish an initial period of disability, one needs to show that they have remained out of work for what would be an initial period thirty (30) days. Should an individual attempt a return to work following the thirty (30) day period, such an attempt to return to work will not interrupt the twelve (12) month count assuming the work attempt ends within six (6) months as a result of their disabling condition or as a result of the removal of special conditions at the work place that allowed you to continue working. Following such an unsuccessful work attempt and return out of work, it then becomes necessary to establish yet another thirty (30) day out of work period resulting from one’s disabling medical condition(s).

For those individuals who have undertaken prior SSDI applications, it may be possible to reopen a past claim and obtain benefits going back as far as a year prior to the date of one’s prior application. A prior SSDI application can be reopened for any reason within twelve (12) months of the initial denial on the prior application, or, for what is called “good cause,” within four (4) years of the date of the initial denial on the prior application. The reason most commonly seen for “good cause” is that there has been new and material evidence provided. The new evidence would need to be evidence that was not considered as part of the prior claim and would need to relate to the period on or before the prior decision was made. In circumstances where testimony was not taken at hearing from a disability claimant in the case of the prior filing, the testimony of the claimant at a hearing (involving the second claim) likewise can serve as new and material evidence which would justify the reopening of the prior application. This where having an experienced Social Security disability lawyer on your side to review whether a prior SSDI claim is amenable to reopening can provide you with significant additional retroactive benefits than you might otherwise see.

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