Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Partially Favorable Onset Appeal

Besides having your Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application approved or denied, it can also be partially approved. A partially favorable decision (“PFD”) occurs when you are found disabled on a date after the date you claim you became disabled. The former date is called the established onset date (“EOD”) and the latter is called the alleged onset date (“AOD”). 

The effect of a PFD is that the claimant seeks a closed period of benefits, from the EOD to the AOD. Many claimants fail to appeal a PFD because they are afraid of losing their current benefits. However, while that is theoretically possible it must be extraordinarily rare, and I have never come across such a case. 

An onset appeal is easier than a typical appeal because the claimant has already been found disabled. The key is finding out the basis for the EOD by carefully reviewing the record. Sometimes, there is no basis for selecting the EOD at all. If the EOD is connected to some medical record, then the question becomes did the claimant’s condition degrade that date, which absent a catastrophic incident is very difficult for Social Security to prove. 

 I represent a 61 year old former teacher who was found disabled on September 1, 2011, even though he claimed he became disabled on February 26, 2010. I had the claimant testify about his arthritic problems that resulted from a 1975 motor vehicle accident and 1983 broken leg. His conditions were obviously progressive. I had previously submitted reports from the claimant’s treating doctors specifying that the claimant’s impairments and functionality remained unchanged from the AOD to the EOD. The claimant received a fully favorable decision today. As a result, the claimant will receive an additional 17 months of SSD benefits.

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