A surprising number of disability application approvals by the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) rely on incorrect filing dates. In some circumstances, a belated filing date can result in the loss of benefits. This past week, I received two “fully favorable” decisions involving the wrong filing dates.
In the first case, the decision stated that the application was filed a month after the actual filing date. Since the claimant’s onset date was two years before her application was filed the wrong onset date reduced her benefits by a month. Because the SSA has a habit of losing documents, I submit time sensitive and original records, such as birth certificates, by certified mail. While using certified mail does not reduce the number of mailings the SSA loses, the receipt provides proof that the SSA received the delivery. After presenting a copy of the mailing receipt, the claimant was approved for another month of benefits.
In the second case, when the SSA local office in the Bronx typed up the claimant’s handwritten application, it changed the claimant’s onset date from October 2004 to February 1, 2005. I learned about the error only after the Bronx hearing office gave me a copy of the file because the Bronx local office had refused to provide me with access to the claim file. In connection with a request for a fully favorable decision on the record (“OTR”), I notified the SSA that the claimant’s correct onset date was October 2004. The OTR was approved using the corrected filing date, thus avoiding the loss of four months of benefits.
The SSA has a history of losing records and making mistakes regarding critical dates. Claim files, hearing level decision and notices of awards always need to be checked to ensure that there is no deprivation of benefitsPrevious Next
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