If the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your claim, you will be given an established onset date (EOD), which is the date the agency believes your disability began based on your medical evidence. This date may be later than you approve and you may be considering appealing the decision. However, you could end up losing a partial award after a Social Security Disability appeal.
Appealing a disability decision will mean a full review of your claim by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who may determine that there was an error in assigning this date or that you do not meet the eligibility requirements. If an ALJ decides that you should not even be receiving partial benefits, you would lose out on receiving monthly benefits altogether.
Our Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers are ready to review your situation in a free, no-obligation consultation to evaluate whether appealing a partial award is worth the risk of losing disability benefits.
What is a Partial Disability Award?
In some situations, a disability applicant may be given a partial award. You are granted disability benefits, but not the full amount that was requested. This can happen when the SSA finds that you are disabled but determines that you did not meet the qualifications until a later date than you claimed.
A partial award can affect your back pay and future monthly benefits. You could lose out on back pay for any months in-between your alleged onset date and the SSA's revised onset date. Receiving only a partial award would mean losing out on a significant amount of money.
When Can you Lose a Partial Award?
An ALJ may overturn a partial award in certain cases if an applicant qualified for disability due to a specific event such as an accident and then qualified because it led to a chronic condition supported by medical records or the applicant's residual functional capacity, which is a detailed assessment of his or her ability to work. The judge who reviews the claim may consider the applicant's EOD to be inaccurate.
The best way to assess your risk of losing a partial award is to speak with an experienced disability lawyer. He or she could help you decide if it is worth challenging the decision by filing an appeal.
It is important to note that if you decide to appeal, you have 60 days from the date you received your award letter to do so. It can take up to 18 months or longer to get a hearing with an ALJ. You would continue to receive benefits during that time and if an appeal is won, you would receive additional back pay.
What to Do If You Lose Your Partial Award
If you appeal the decision and an ALJ overturns your partial award, the SSA may consider the payments you received during this time as overpayments and will likely ask for a full refund within 30 days. A disability lawyer could also help you appeal this decision in writing by stating why you think you have not been overpaid, or why you think the amount is incorrect.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation
At Dayes Law Firm, our disability lawyers understand how the SSA operates and know what it takes to obtain disability benefits. We are prepared to discuss whether filing an appeal is worth the risk of losing a partial award and how an appeal could impact your future monthly benefits and back pay.
A consultation with our firm is 100 percent free. There is no risk or obligation to have us represent you, but if you do, we do not charge any upfront payment unless we help you obtain disability benefits.