What is an SSDI onset date, and can I challenge it?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2021 | Social Security Disability

When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) may use several unfamiliar terms. One of these is your “onset date.”

Your onset date is the date, per SSA, that your disability prevented you from working. Getting the correct onset date is crucial to avoid losing out on benefits.

Can I contest the onset date once my claim is approved?

If you disagree with the onset date that the SSA uses when approving your claim, you can appeal their decision. The SSA will make up any lost payments if you succeed, but with two significant limitations. First, there is a mandatory five-month waiting period from any onset date. Second, the SSA will only backdate pay to a maximum of 12 months before you first file.

Let’s look at two scenarios to see how this plays out:

  • Scenario 1: You filed in January 2021 and requested an onset date of January 2020. In June 2021, the SSA finally approves your claim but sets your onset date at January 2021. You must wait five full months from the onset date before receiving your first payment. So your waiting period consists of February, March, April, May, June 2021. You are due no back payment.
  • Scenario 2: The same scenario as above; however, you appeal and get your onset date moved to January 2020. Therefore your five-month waiting period becomes February to June 2020. You are now due past-due payments from July 2020 onward.

Claiming SSDI is never easy, and it is crucial to have help to achieve the total amount of benefits you are entitled to for the full amount of time. Making a prompt initial application is essential to avoid missing out on benefits you are due.