Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maximizing Disability Benefits

According to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), a protective filing date is, “The date you first contact us about filing for benefits. It may be used to establish an earlier application date than when we receive your signed application.”

Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits are available after a full five month waiting period. When filing a Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application, it is possible to be awarded up to twelve months of retroactive benefits. As long as an application is filed within seventeen months of the disability onset date a claimant will not lose potential SSD benefits.

I represent a 40 year old truck driver with a knee replacement who became disabled more than 17 months before initially contacting me. I advised the claimant to contact the SSA for an appointment to file for SSD benefits in order to receive a protective filing date, which he did. I further advised the claimant to send a confirmatory letter to the SSA as proof of the contact because the SSA does not always send a letter to claimants for an appointment.

The claimant eventually retained me, and I filed an application for SSD benefits two months later. The claimant received a fully favorable decision today that found the claimant disabled as of the protective filing date. As a result, the claimant received two additional months of SSD benefits.

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