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Established Onset Date for SSDI how important is it?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “My husband applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) two years ago. Somehow the SSA convinced him to say that his disability started later than it really did. Now he has lost all of his back pay. I am confused about the process and don’t really understand what his established onset date for his disability really means?”

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Established onset date (EOD) for your disability


Unfortunately, the SSDI process can be a bit difficult to understand. One of the most confusing aspects is your onset date of disability. Your disability established onset date is the date in which you lost your ability to work due to your mental or physical health condition.

Although you might have documented the date you believe your disability started- often referred to as your alleged onset date- the SSA will review your medical evidence and determine if there is sufficient evidence to prove your alleged onset date is accurate or whether it needs to be adjusted. The final date determined by the SSA as the date your disability started is called your established onset date (EOD).

Why is your established onset date important?



It can take weeks or months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a disability determination. Because of the incredibly long processing time many claimants will qualify for months and months of SSDI back pay, which could be a great deal of money.

For example, SSDI allows for back pay payments for up to 12 months of disability before the date you applied for SSDI benefits. To get the full 12 months of back pay, however, you would have to prove that you were disabled 17 months prior to the application date. This is because SSDI also requires a 5 month waiting period after you become disabled to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Assuming your alleged onset date for disability was 17 months before your application date, you had sufficient evidence to prove you were disabled and could not work, and you met all of the other disability qualifications, you could qualify for the maximum 12 months of back pay.

How much money has your husband lost?



Now, you were concerned that your husband has lost money by agreeing with the SSA that his established onset date started after it really did. If he really was disabled prior to the date that the SSA is claiming and he had medical evidence to prove this fact, he probably did lose some money. The amount of money, however, would depend on how much SSDI he qualified to receive each month.

There is also a chance that he didn’t lose any money or the amount he lost might not be worth fighting for. Without more information about his alleged onset date and the established onset date documented by the SSA it’s impossible to say for sure.

Twelve months of back pay is the maximum your spouse could receive. You can multiply 12 times the amount he is entitled to receive to find out the absolute maximum he might have received if he could have proven his onset date was 17 months prior to his disability date. If the amount tis great enough you might want to talk to a disability lawyer to find out what steps you need to take to get the full amount of back pay he deserves.