Established Onset Date

Massachusetts Attorneys Guiding Claimants for Social Security

If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), one of the important facts that you must establish for your claim is the “date of onset” for your condition. While this date may be easy to establish for individuals who are suddenly and traumatically injured in an accident, it is often more difficult to pinpoint for those who experience the slow progression of an illness or disease. However, setting your disability onset date has important implications for your benefits and how long you may have to wait before receiving them. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security lawyers have worked with Massachusetts residents experiencing a wide range of injuries and disorders to accurately develop a date of onset, and we are available to assist you.

Establishing Date of Onset

When you first fill out paperwork for your disability claim, you will be asked to indicate when you first became disabled. This is known as your alleged onset date. It is the date when you were suddenly injured in an accident and no longer able to work, or when your illness or disease progressed to a level where it began to significantly undermine your health and ability to work.

Although you must make your best effort to appropriately determine your onset date, it is important to know that this date is not set in stone. Instead, the SSA will ultimately determine your disability onset date for you during a review of your medical records and disability paperwork. It may ultimately confirm the date that you have provided or adopt a new date. Either way, the SSA’s final determination is known as the “established onset date.”

What Does Your Established Onset Date Mean for You?

Under the SSDI program, an individual is only eligible to begin receiving SSDI benefits after a five-month waiting period has accrued. This is a standard procedure and applies to all SSDI applicants. The five-month waiting period runs from the Established Onset Date that the SSA has set for you, rather than from your alleged onset date or the date of application. This means that if you began to experience symptoms in February but applied for disability benefits in May, you would be entitled to begin to receive those benefits in July. In some circumstances, if you have waited a long time from the beginning of your disability to apply for benefits, you may be entitled to benefits immediately upon application and approval because your five-month period will have already passed.

It is probably clear from the above discussion that it is in every SSDI applicant’s best interest to ensure that the alleged onset date included in his or her application accurately reflects the earliest possible date of disability. This does not mean that an applicant can make up an earlier date in order to obtain benefits, but you can do your best to obtain the documentation you need to convince the SSA of exactly when your disability started. For instance, you may wish to provide records of when you began to miss work for periods of time due to the effects of your disability, or when your doctor began to record the consequences of disability on your medical condition.

Enlist a Government Benefits Lawyer in Massachusetts to Assert Your Rights

At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C, our government benefits attorneys can work with people in Massachusetts seeking to establish SSDI eligibility and carefully collect their information so that they can present a persuasive claim. From our Boston offices, we represent individuals throughout Norfolk, Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, and Plymouth Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. Contact us for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online.