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AOD - What does this mean for my SSA disability Case?

If you are in the process of completing your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application the SSA will ask you for your alleged onset date. Due to confusion or a general misunderstanding about what the SSA is asking most claimants put the wrong date on their SSDI application

What is my alleged onset date (AOD)?

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) asks you what your alleged onset date (AOD) is they are asking you when your disability officially began. But in addition to this, what they are really asking is when your condition became so severe you were no longer able to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Why does this date matter? Your alleged onset date (AOD) will determine how much you will be paid in retroactive benefits. If you do not put the correct alleged onset date you could cost yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars in retroactive SSDI benefits. For instance, for every month that you can prove that you were disabled and you were not performing substantial gainful activity (up to 17 months prior to the date of the SSDI claim) is potentially another month of SSDI benefits.

How do I find out the correct alleged onset date?

The best way to find out your alleged onset date (AOD) is to either review your medical files which may list the last day you worked or to check with your last employer. Disability lawyers also have experience determining an alleged onset date and can work with their clients to establish a date that is accurate.

Does the alleged onset date ever have to be changed?

Occasionally, the alleged onset date (AOD) most be modified. In some cases it may make sense to make an alleged onset date later, especially if the medical evidence does not support the original onset date. Disability lawyers who voluntarily change the dates on cases where it makes sense may have an easier time negotiating for earlier onset dates for other cases, having established credibility with the court.

There are issues with changing the dates. If a disability lawyer makes the AOD too late the claimant potentially loses money. If the alleged onset date is too earlier it may raise questions with the court or judge and it could potentially jeopardize the SSA disability case.

Consider, however, if the alleged onset date is more than 17 months prior to the initiation of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim it will not matter because SSDI retroactive benefits are not paid prior to this date (17 months less the 5 month SSDI waiting period allows for retroactive benefits for 12 months prior to the SSDI application date).

Determining my retroactive payments for SSDI

SSDI retroactive payments are paid 12 months prior to the application date. So will you get retroactive benefits? Only if your alleged onset date is before the application filing date.

Will you get back pay? Most SSDI and SSI disability claimants will receive back pay because it can take months or years to process their disability claim, and if the SSDI application takes 2 years to process the back pay amount can be very high.

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