February 8, 2010

Social Security Disability and Amended Onset Dates

money.JPGAfter a long wait for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing, Indiana residents may find themselves negotiating with an ALJ as to the onset date of their disability.

What can this mean to you?  It sometimes means that it may be less money paid to you in past due benefits. The past due disability benefit payment, commonly paid in a lump sum for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants may be reduced substantially by agreeing to an amended onset date.

Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis sometimes finds that an ALJ is willing to find a favorable ruling for his client, but at times a judge may ask the disability claimant to amend the onset date. The reasoning for agreeing to an amended onset date can vary, but many times it is because the judge believes the medical records do not establish the claimant’s disability until after the date the claimant alleges the disability began. There can be other reasons for amending the disability onset date that can also include the disability claimant reaching a particular age. It seems that some judges want to amend onset dates much more often than others in disability claims.

Many times when the above scenario happens at a hearing, the judge may be open to an argument from an attorney, representative, or the client as to why an earlier date should be established. Some judges may be swayed if a certain medical record can be cited as to a firm diagnosis or other facts in the record to substantiate an earlier date.

Indiana residents finding themselves with an option of taking an amended onset date and receiving a favorable ruling often concede in order to start receiving their much needed disability benefits. The fact remains that if a claimant does not take the judge’s offer, an unfavorable ruling still can be made in the case.

In conclusion, when Indiana residents enter the courtroom, have all of your medical records up to date and be prepared to argue the date you allege you became disabled. Just stating that you could not work on a particular date is unlikely to be enough. Detailed medical records and progress notes will probably be the basis of the ALJ’s decision.

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis offers a free consultation regarding your Social Security disability claim.  Contact Scott Lewis at (317) 423-8888 with your Social Security disability questions.

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