Date of Onset

What is Date of Onset?

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) refers to a disability applicant's Date of Onset, they are referring to the date that a Social Security Disability applicant became disabled. When you fill out your Social Security Disability claim forms, you will be asked to provide the date your disability began.

It is important to understand that this is only a temporary “alleged” date of onset and the actual date of onset may be adjusted once the SSA has reviewed and processed your Social Security Disability claim.

It is not unusual for the SSA to adjust the Date of Onset to a date that is much later than the one the claimant provided on the disability claim forms. Thus, you should put down the earliest date possible when determining when your disability began.

Why is Date of Onset Important?

The Date of Onset is only relevant for disability applicants who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and is not as important for applicants who are applying only for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

This is because SSDI benefits have a five-month waiting period. This waiting period begins with your established Date of Onset. For SSI benefits, there is no five-month waiting period, so the Date of Onset does not affect when your disability payments begin if you are only receiving SSI benefits.

Date of onset is the date the Social Security disability benefits applicant became disabled.

How Does the SSA Determine Your Date of Onset?

When the SSA determines your Date of Onset, you will be eligible for disability benefits starting five months after your onset date. This means if your Date of Onset was in March, you would begin receiving your disability payments in September, after the five-month waiting period had been completed.

Because the Date of Onset is the date that you become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it is in your best interest to have your Date of Onset pushed as far back as possible. The earlier your Date of Onset is, the more likely you will be to be awarded disability back payments and a larger disability back pay amount.

Talk to a Social Security Attorney

Applying for Social Security benefits can be a daunting process. It is recommended to speak with a Social Security attorney with any question you may have about applying for Social Security.

An attorney can help you gather all the necessary information and paperwork you'll need and give you the best chance to win your case.