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The Importance of Your Alleged Onset Date (AOD) For Social Security Disability Claims

July 6, 2015

An alleged onset date is important in disability cases. The date you became unable to work is one of the most important pieces of information you tell  the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you file a disability claim. The SSA will be looking at that date very carefully to determine why you chose it.
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What is an Alleged Onset Date?

An alleged onset date, also known as an AOD, is the date you claim on your Social Security Disability application that you became disabled, or that your inability to work began.

How do I choose an onset date?

If you stopped working a job because of your disability, you may use the last day you worked – or the day after – as the date you became too disabled to work. If you had an extreme medical emergency that kept you from returning to work, such as a heart attack or stroke, you may use the date the emergency medical event occurred.

Will I have to explain my choice of onset date?

Yes, you will. You will need to explain to the SSA why you are choosing a specific date claiming disability. You may have to explain your rationale to different SSA staff, so keep in mind that each time you speak with someone it is notated in your file. If you tell one SSA representative your onset date was the last day you had a grand mal seizure, but tell another rep that you were laid off from your job that day, the SSA will detect the inconsistency, potentially damaging your credibility.

What if the SSA doesn’t agree with the date I chose?

Sometimes the SSA will find a claimant is disabled, but on a different date than your proposed onset date. For example, Mary claimed she became disabled on 1/10/12, the day she resigned from her job because she could no longer perform the work due to degenerative disc disease. However, upon review of Mary’s medical records, the SSA sees a MRI of Mary’s back done on 11/1/12 that shows dramatic worsening of her condition, fitting SSA’s criteria of disability.
Therefore, SSA mails a decision to Mary informing her that she has been found disabled as of 11/1/12. Mary can either accept this decision, or appeal it in order to convince SSA that the date she became disabled was actually 1/10/12.

What if I don’t know which date to choose?

If you’re still not sure which onset date to choose, it helps to consult an experienced disability attorney. The disability attorney can help you pinpoint the exact date in your life you became too disabled to work. Be sure to share your entire health and work history with this professional. It’s important to get an accurate assessment to ensure the SSA will look at the correct time frame and information connected with your claim for the best possible outcome.

Still have questions? Contact us today. We have eight convenient office locations in Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, Canton, Ashtabula, Youngstown, Lorain, Mentor and Toledo to meet with you and address your disability concerns.

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