Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income payments are not applied retroactively. Despite this, having a firm understanding of one’s disability onset date is still important for New Jersey applicants. This date plays a pivotal role when applying for SSDI or SSI payments.

Why does the onset date matter?

The Social Security Administration — SSA — factors in the disability onset date when determining eligibility as well as pay periods for benefits. In some cases, an individual can point to the date of an accident as the onset date. However, most SSDI and SSI applicants have disabilities with no traumatic origins. For these types of disabilities, the SSA will look at other factors to figure out the onset date:

  • The date that the applicant alleges the disability began.
  • The applicant’s work history, including when he or she stopped working.
  • Medical records, which may indicate a progression of impairment that can help determine a general idea of the onset date.

Applicants suffering from mental impairments may require different evidence to support their alleged onset date. If previously hospitalized, medical records and detailed statements from attending medical staff can help demonstrate whether an onset date occurred prior to hospitalization. Nonmedical evidence such as suddenly stopping work or exhibiting abnormal behavior can also prove helpful.

Recalling an exact disability onset date can be challenging when dealing with all the physical and emotional limitations of a disability. Despite this, it is still important for SSDI and SSI applicants in New Jersey to do their very best to recall this information and supply evidence supporting it. Those who are unsure of the best approach in this situation may be well advised to first seek the support and guidance of a knowledgeable attorney.