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What does it mean when your disability lawyer moves to amend the alleged onset date of disability

Lewisburg, WV |

My lawyer wants to move my alleged onset date of disability

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Attorney answers 3


If I talk to a client about amending the alleged onset date(AOD), it means I think we have a better chance of winning because of the medical, change in age, prior denials, etc.
If you change your AOD, it normally also will impact how much back pay you receive.
Remember, whatever your AOD is, your benefits don't start until 5 months after that. For example, if your AOD is April then your date of entitlement (DOE) is October, which is when your first check is due.
I would speak directly with your attorney about their reasoning and listen carefully. Lawyers don't normally change the AOD unless it is necessary or we are very confident of getting the case approved. If your back pay is reduced, so is the attorney fee.


Mr. Lupisella is correct. I am surprised you did not ask your attorney this when the motion was made. That is whom you should be talking to.

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I agree that you should be asking your attorney this, not asking here - that's the only way to know for sure. Generally, though, I would consider moving one of my clients' alleged onset dates in two ways - moving it forward (claiming the disability began later) or moving it backwards (claiming it began earlier). Mr. Lupisella seemed to be discussing moving it forward, and I agree with his discussion of that. I normally won't move someone's onset date forward without their express permission, and I'll only do it if I feel like their case really needs it. For example, sometimes people don't start getting medical treatment right at the time they become disabled, they get treatment sometime later. Without medical record documentation of what was going on, sometimes I have to move the onset date forward to the date the medical proof begins, because we just can't prove what was going on earlier. That generally means less back pay for the claimant, and less of a fee for me, but if it's the only way to win, then it's the only way to win.

Like I mentioned above, though, there's another way to amend an onset date - moving it backwards, claiming the disability began earlier. I like to do this when I can, because it can mean more back pay for my client, maybe a higher fee for me, and an earlier Medicare eligibility date sometimes. All good things. Sometimes people sit at home for years and don't apply for disability right at the beginning. Then when they apply, they pick a date around the time of their application, rather than making their claim go back to when they really became disabled. If the medical proof supports it, I will amend that person's onset date backwards, to try to get them as much as I can within SSA's rules.

Jeremy Bordelon is a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee only, and is authorized to practice in all Tennessee State and Federal courts, and before the Social Security Administration in any jurisdiction. The answers provided on are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. In some jurisdictions, this answer may be construed as attorney advertising.