A protective filing is the term used for the first time a claimant contacts the Social Security Administration office to file a claim for disability or retirement. Individuals are encouraged to use protective filing dates because in some cases, they may be earlier than the actual signed date of an application. This can be advantageous for claims that rely on the date of application to determine the entitlement period for benefits. Claims that utilize the application date for entitlements are typically disability and retirement benefit claims.
For Social Security Disability benefits, claimants can be awarded up to twelve months of retroactive benefits based on the protective filing date. However, this is only true as long as you file your claim within seventeen months of the onset of your disability. If the seventeen-month deadline is approaching and you still have not filed, it may be worthwhile to consider a protective filing date. To do this, you must contact the Social Security Administration and set up an appointment to start the claims process for your benefits. After you have set the appointment, the SSA will follow up with a confirmation letter. This letter serves as proof of your effective filing date.
If you fail to retain this proof, your protective filing date will be nullified. A claimant’s lawyer may also initiate the protective filing date if it is unlikely that the claimant will be able to file within the seventeen-month deadline.