What if the Social Security judge wants me to change the date my disability began?


Nate Craig of Truth of the Matter Asserted has a great article about what it means if a judge wants you to change the date you became disabled, or in Social Security parlance “amend your alleged onset date (AOD).”

Often, by the time the claimant’s hearing comes to be scheduled, the ALJ will review the file for the first time. During this review, the ALJ will determine if the onset date is established by the medical records. Most factors of a proposal to amend an onset date will be either a specific medical finding that seems to correlate with the claimant’s limitations or the claimant has earning posted to their earnings record, including unemployment benefits.

Long story short, if the Judge is asking you to amend the onset date, they essentially are going to award benefits.

Nate makes a great point, but there is one exception to this general rule of thumb: SSI cases.

In a SSI (Supplemental Security Income) case, you can only get benefits back to the Protected Filing Date (PFD), the date you requested to file an application.  However, in many SSI cases I see, people (understandably and correctly) claim that their disability began when they stopped being able to work. Normally this is months before they ever filed for Social Security. 

I regularly see Judges asking claimants to change their Alleged Onset Date (AOD) to the Protected Filing Date (PFD).  However, this is just a streamlining measure and does not necessarily mean the judge will approve the case. At least, not in my experience.

However, with this one exception, if the ALJ asks to amend the AOD to any other date, that is usually a good sign!

Read the rest of Nate’s excellent article here.  

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • Nate Craig

    Thanks for reading my blog. I have been in and out of the office so much the last month with a sick wife. She is doing great and is back to normal. I will try to get on and post some more now that my life has returned to normal.

  • Pingback: What is an Alleged Onset Date (AOD)? | Colorado Social Security Law

  • robertisco

    I had a hearing with my lawyer and ALJ a week and a half ago.The ALj asked the expert Dr. if I meet ss guidlines and he said yes and gave him the aod I had put down.The ALJ then had my lawyer take me out and tell me he would approve my case if my aod was ammended.My Lawyer said to take the offer,we were rushed so I agreed.Basically, change the date and your appoved.Does that mean Full Approval or partial approval? I cant seem to get a straight answer from my lawer.He said congrats and it loks good and your over the biggest hurrdle.I'm still totally confused.It sound like he moved it from x/06 to x/07 1 yr.ahead.

  • http://www.SocialSecurityInsider.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    If you don't know what your lawyer did, keep asking until you get a straight answer.

    While I can't say what will happen in your case, I have often seen that when the AOD is amended and the case is approved, the decision is “fully favorable” instead of “partially favorable,” because all the issue have been resolved.

    See my article on partially favorable decisions: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/06/i-

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    If you don't know what your lawyer did, keep asking until you get a straight answer.

    While I can't say what will happen in your case, I have often seen that when the AOD is amended and the case is approved, the decision is “fully favorable” instead of “partially favorable,” because all the issue have been resolved.

    See my article on partially favorable decisions: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/06/i-

  • lisa miller

    2 months after our court date the ss has sent a letter to our lawyer stating that we must change our aou or my husbands case would result in a denial.is this a good or a bad thing?why did they wait so long.and why a change,since its only like a 3 or 4 month difference.also my husband has been drawing unemployment benefits,which have recently stopped will that effect the final decision also?

  • Alcaholicdemon

    the judge has asked for a new onset disability date.how long after our lawyer submits a new date can we expect to get a answer.its been over 3 months since our court date.submitted a new date 3 weeks ago?

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com TomaszStasiuk

    You can ask your attorney to follow up with the Judge's clerk. A phone call checking the status usually brings things back to the top if they have gotten buried.

  • Dc_lmb

    i had a alj hearing he found me not disabilied on july 28 2010 i appealed to to council filed new app they found me disabilied on july 29 2010 what happens to the first app i filed did not get backpay and no medicad 1 am a 40 yr old male with 4 severe impairments THANKS

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    An appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council (AC) is not a new claim. It is an appeal from a prior decision. An outright approval from the AC is effective on the lower judge’s decision.

    It is more common to see a Remand from the AC (the decision is thrown out and the case is sent back for a new hearing). However, an approval can be a better result since it does not require a further hearing. Of course, since I have not seen your paperwork, I am only speaking generally. I cannot say what say what the AC is doing in your case.

    After a case is approved, Social Security decides the amount of back benefits and ongoing monthly benefits: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/04/how-far-back-does-social-security-pay-benefits/

  • Tanter710

     I applied for social security at age 52 and did not know my work credits had expired.  So SSA automatically put me in for SSI.  On my phone interview I gave them an onset date of January 2009 and wonder if there is a possibility the onset date will change from the application date of 12/2010 to at least 01/2010 when I still had work credits due to my severe neck arthritis that doesn’t just appear over night.  

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    You suggest that you still have an open case. Also, I presume you mean that you are past your date last insured: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/08/date-last-insured/

    Barring a few very limited exceptions, an onset date can (usually) be changed. However, an individual has to notify Social Security (and preferably the Social Security office working on the case) of the intent to change the onset date.

    Of course if the onset is being changed to preserve DIB eligibility, the amended onset has to be before the DLI.

    Honestly, changing the onset date is a simple as notifying Social Security. The tricky part is usually proving disability as of the earlier onset date.

  • Bill

    Why would the SSI office send me a letter asking for pay stubs for the year BEFORE I filed my claim? My case was approved in 2009 and I have been getting benefits since July 2009.

    I have been on the trial work program and have reported earnings to them, just an fyi. Now they send me letter asking for stubs for 2008 and 2009.

    Why would they do that? Am I in danger of losing benefits?

  • Bill

    Why would the SSI office send me a letter asking for pay stubs for the year BEFORE I filed my claim? My case was approved in 2009 and I have been getting benefits since July 2009.

    I have been on the trial work program and have reported earnings to them, just an fyi. Now they send me letter asking for stubs for 2008 and 2009.

    Why would they do that? Am I in danger of losing benefits?

  • Bill

    Why would the SSI office send me a letter asking for pay stubs for the year BEFORE I filed my claim? My case was approved in 2009 and I have been getting benefits since July 2009.

    I have been on the trial work program and have reported earnings to them, just an fyi. Now they send me letter asking for stubs for 2008 and 2009.

    Why would they do that? Am I in danger of losing benefits?

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I had no idea so I asked around. It is not clear if benefits started in July 2009 however there were back benefits paid covering 2008? OR, if back benefits were paid back to July 2009 only. 

    Assuming onset in 2009 (no back pay covering 2008 or earlier), the one response I received felt this was odd that SSA would request pay stubs for 2008.This isn’t really an answer. Just that based on the information provided, it is odd. 

    Note: http://www.stasiukfirm.com/disclaimer/

  • Niqua

    I appied for benifits in July of 2008 and was denied by the ALJ without a lawyer. I got fustrated and gave up. The next time i applied I got a lawyer and started all over again. I just recieved my fully favorable decison in october 21,2011 and the date I applied was August 11,2010 and the letter stated that my on set date was amended to May 7.2009. Im not sure what it means cans someone please explain it to me.

  • Bre

    you will get back pay beginning 5 months from the onset date

  • granny63

    I was asked to change my onset date. The VE never said a thing. Its been 47 days and they say its with the decision writers Is that good.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    As noted in the post, if the ALJ is focusing on the onset date, it suggests the judge isn’t worried about whether to approve the case, so much as selecting a date the disability began. Hopefully, that is the case with your claim. Good luck!