|Natalia Jofre:||Hi and welcome to the Hill and Ponton Social Security Disability blog. I’m Natalia Jofre. I’m the Director for our Social Security section.|
|Shelly Mark:||And I am Shelly Mark. I am the Senior Social Security Attorney.|
|Natalia Jofre:||So the last time we were talking about onset date. What that is, what its importance is, when you’re filing for social security disability benefits. And Shelly, you wanted to share some more about what that is, and what effects it.|
|Shelly Mark:||Yes. That’s exactly right. Your onset date, like we discussed, is really the day that you’re saying you became disabled due to your medical conditions and unable to work. In theory, this would be the day that you stopped working due to your medical conditions. There are a lot of different things that can affect adjusting that onset date. This can happen at any time during your claim. One of the big issues that we see as attorneys, is that someone may have became disabled and stopped working in 2013, but they had no insurance and they didn’t start treatment until let’s say 2014.|
|Shelly Mark:||So when you’re working with an attorney, you may have them come to you and say, “Look, I think we need to amend your onset date, because you don’t have any evidence to support your subjective complaints of pain or whatever it may be.” The reason that they’re telling you that is because the judge’s decision can’t be based on how you feel. It’s got to be based on whether it be MRIs in the file, or evaluations from a psychiatrist. There has to be some piece of evidence in the file to support your personal allegation that you were disabled and unable to work. So while we may counsel you to change your onset date, it’s not that we’re saying you weren’t disabled when you stopped in 2013. It’s just that we know that the judges will not be able to grant your claim, until the evidence actually supports that.|
|Natalia Jofre:||So it’s not just what you say, what you feel, what you allege. But more importantly, what you can prove.|
|Shelly Mark:||That is exactly correct. Because really, your medical records are really the only proof that we can use in a disability claim.|
|Natalia Jofre:||So if you didn’t have any treatment or any evidence per se during the period of time when you were actually disabled, you should probably reconsider when you became … Not when you became disabled, but when you started your medical treatment.|
|Natalia Jofre:||When you can prove that your disability began.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s exactly right. As attorneys, that’s what we’re here to help you with. We’re here to … I always tell clients we want to package this claim as nice as we can, so when the judge looks at it, he doesn’t give it a second guess. It’s clear. This is supported by evidence in the file. This is clearly a person that’s disabled. Go ahead?|
|Natalia Jofre:||Nope, that’s it. Did you have anything else regarding onset date?|
|Shelly Mark:||Yeah. There’s a couple of other situations when we will usually amend onset date, and one is if you’re receiving unemployment compensation. A lot of people start working on a certain date, they stop working that date due to their disability, but they may be receiving unemployment compensation. We normally will proactively amend the date past any unemployment compensation so that the judges don’t have to go back and forth on their own to figure out, “Well, they’re saying that they’re able and available to work, and they’re getting these benefits, but then they’re also saying that they’re disabled, and that they’re not able to work.” So once again, in that situation, we just want to eliminate any situation to where the judge is going to be questioning your claim, basically.|
|Shelly Mark:||And in one other situation, is when you’re going to be moving into a more favorable age group.|
|Shelly Mark:||So you may become disabled, again, let’s say 2014. And let’s say in 2015 you turn 55. So we may counsel you at that point that your claim becomes much more favorable once you reach that advanced age group that we talked about earlier.|
|Shelly Mark:||We may counsel you that you may lose six to twelve months of benefits, but that once again, when this goes before a judge, he’s going to be able to see … He or she is going to be able to see the claim and know right away that you were disabled.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. So it’s in your best interests to have a much better shot at being approved, and lose a handful of months worth of benefits, versus going for that earlier date and potentially not being approved at all.|
|Shelly Mark:||Absolutely. I think that this is one of the benefits, really, of having an attorney really review the file and review the evidence, and just make sure that the date that you’re alleging you became disabled is, one: supported by the evidence; two: supported by the fact that you weren’t working; and then three: also supported by the age group that you’re in.|
|Shelly Mark:||It’s really important.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Okay. So next time we’re going to be talking a little bit more about unemployment benefits and disability, and how that works together or doesn’t. So if you’ll join us next time. For now, if you have any questions, feel free to visit our website or call our office.|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
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