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How will a disability onset date affect my benefits claim?

Applying for SSD benefits involves a detailed application and a lot of specific information about a person's medical condition and work history. The Social Security Administration uses the information they obtain from an applicant to determine a disability onset date, which is the date a person became unable to work due to his or her disabling medical condition. The disability onset date is an important date for a recipient of SSDI benefits because it can affect a person's SSDI or SSI eligibility.

The SSA determines a person's disability onset date based on work history, medical records, allegations of an applicant and other applicable types of evidence. These forms of evidence are particularly relevant when a disability developed from non-traumatic events, as is often the case for many Tennessee applicants. The SSA will consider the applicant's statement regarding when the disability began, and supplement this information with a work activity report of the applicant's work history. Additionally, the SSA can bolster their determination of a disability onset date through medical records and other related documentation.

There are special scenarios that arise that may affect the determination of a disability onset date. A disability that arises in childhood will generally not necessitate the exact determination of a disability onset date, as long as the disability began before the applicant's 22nd birthday, and the applicant filed for benefits before turning 23, among other conditions. For a person needing benefits due to blindness, the onset date is determined based on when, according to medical evidence, a person has statutory blindness based on the legal definition.

A Tennessean who is facing an inability to work and is seeking disability benefits may benefit from legal help, as the application process and its many requirements, as well as the possibility for confusion regarding a person's disability onset date, may be daunting for some.

Source: FindLaw, "What is My Disability Onset Date?," accessed Dec. 26, 2015

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