Receiving a decision approving your Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application, or receiving your first check for SSD benefits, does not always mean that you received all of the benefits to which you are entitled.
I filed an application on April 29, 2008 for a 35 year old woman who stopped working in 1998 because of Multiple Sclerosis. On July 16, 2008, I received a letter indicating that the claimant’s application would be approved, but that letter did not mean that my work was completed because it made no reference to the application filing date.
A claimant can receive SSD benefits retroactive for only 12 months prior to the filing of an application. Therefore, the earliest date when the claimant could receive benefits was as of April 2007, assuming that she established the onset of her disability more than five months before that date. That is because there is a full five month waiting period before SSD benefits are available. I was able to establish that the claimant became disabled in May 2003.
The SSA frequently notes the wrong date in the claimant’s files for applications. Recognizing that problem, I filed the application via certified mail containing the following statement: “Note the certified mail date when inputting the application date.” Additionally, upon receipt of the July 16, 2008 letter, I faxed another letter to the SSA with delivery confirmation reiterating that I filed the claimant’s application via certified mail on April 29, 2008 under cover letter stating “Note the certified mail date when inputting the application date.”
Despite the steps taken above, I learned via telephone that the SSA did not issue the claimant’s benefits in full because it used an application date of May 2008. The result is the loss of one month’s benefits. Fortunately, I notified the SSA of the error, which it stated will be corrected. The moral is that even if the SSA issues a check or a decision that purports to be fully favorable you still need to check that the amount of the check or decision is correct.