college student in wheelchair Onset DateYour date of disability onset is an important factor in the disability application process, and an Indiana Social Security disability attorney may be able to help you ensure that it is accurate. Your disability onset date is important because it is the point at which you became unable to work a regular job due to the limiting factors of your medical condition. Disability payments can be significantly affected by the disability onset date, although most payments are made based on the time of the application date. The Social Security Administration often bases benefit payment periods and eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income on the date of onset. While it may be difficult to pinpoint an exact date of onset for some medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia, the SSA bases the date on such factors as medical records, work history, allegations such as those made in personal injury lawsuits, and other incidents that illustrate a history of illness.

Determining the Date of Onset

Most SSI and SSDI cases involve non-traumatic disabilities, and the date of onset for these cases is determined by three main factors. The importance of each factor varies on a case-by-case basis, but medical evidence must always be consistent with the alleged date of onset. If the medical record shows a different date of onset, the case may be dismissed. The first factor is allegations of the applicant, which can be as simple as your statement of when the disability began as included in your application and Disability Report. Work history is also heavily considered, and your local SSA office will ensure that your claim and the date you stopped working according to a Work Activity Report are matched. Self-employed workers fill out Form SSA-820-F4, while all others fill out SSA-821-F4. If your disability was sustained in a traumatic event, your onset date is the date of the injury provided that you can reasonably expect to be unable to work for at least one year. Disabilities of traumatic origin may also qualify for benefits if the resulting injuries are expected to be fatal. In some cases, your date of onset may have occurred before any officially recorded medical exam or even your last day of work. In such cases, a medical advisor may be present at your disability hearing to advise on a proper date of onset.

Mental Patients and Hospitalization

If you are or were hospitalized for a mental impairment, your onset date is recorded in the Report on Individual with Mental Impairment Form SSA-824. The considerations for determining the date of onset in such cases are more involved than the standard procedure. First, your medical report as prepared by the attending physician of your institution is reviewed. A thorough review of your medical history then occurs, followed by an allegation of the date of onset provided by the hospital staff. Finally, non-medical evidence that provides insight into why you were unable to keep working is evaluated. Your family members and former employers may also be contacted to determine the date of onset if you grant permission. An Indiana Social Security disability attorney may be able to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the disability application process.

Special Cases and Circumstances

Disability claims are highly unique due to the varying work experiences and medical histories of those who apply. There are special rules designed to facilitate the disability process for those who do not fall under the traditional guidelines for one reason or another. For childhood disability cases, it is not necessary to determine a date of onset provided that the disability occurred prior to the applicant’s 22nd birthday. If you applied before the age of 23, and your disability began after your 22nd birthday, you are required to establish a date of onset. Statutory blindness is another condition with special guidelines. It is necessary to show an onset date based on when your medical record shows that your visual impairment began to meet the definition of statutory blindness. If you were able to engage in work while considered legally blind, you are required to identify a second date of onset at which you were no longer able to work due to your visual impairment.

Contact an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

Applying for disability is an already complicated process, but establishing a date of onset can make it even more difficult. Contact Barnes Cadwell, an association of lawyers and not a partnership today at (317) 804-5058 to speak with an Indiana Social Security disability attorney you can trust to represent your interests at your hearing.