The Importance of Protective Filing Dates for Disability Claims

May 5, 2021
Dayes Law Firm

The first time you contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) with your intent to apply for disability, a protective filing date will be established for you. This date can affect the amount of benefits you may be able to receive from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The protective filing date is used to determine when you can start receiving benefits.

To learn more about protective filing dates and see if you are eligible for disability benefits, Dayes Law Firm is here to help. We offer a completely free and confidential consultation with no legal obligation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees involved.

Have Questions? Call: 1-800-503-2000

Why Protective Filing Dates Matter

There are numerous reasons why it is important to establish your protective filing date sooner rather than later. This date is used to determine your date of eligibility if your disability claim is approved.

Most claimants are eligible to receive back pay, which is a lump sum payment issued to cover the time between the date you applied for disability and the date your claim was approved by the SSA. The amount of back pay that could be owed to you will depend on your protective filing date.

There are also time limits when it comes to applying for disability. For instance, if you are looking to qualify for SSDI, you must file a disability claim or at least be preparing to file within 17 days from the onset date of your disability. This is the date you became unable to work as a result of your condition.

If you are still thinking about applying for disability and want to protect your right to do so, it is in your best interest to have a protective filing date established.

Eligibility Date for SSDI

A protective filing date shows that you have sent a written notice to the SSA of your intent to file for SSDI. This date can extend your eligibility for SSDI. If you initiate the claims process online and get halfway through it, this can also help establish a protective filing date.

To qualify for SSDI, you must prove that you are not only disabled but that you meet the medical requirements. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will review all of your medical and employment records to establish the onset date of your disability. If you are approved for disability, SSDI benefits will not start until five months after the SSA determines that you are, in fact, disabled.

It is important to note that initial claims can take months to process and reach a decision. The exact time frame will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Retroactive Benefits

A protective filing date could also mean more benefits from the SSA if you get approved for SSDI. You may be eligible to get up to one year of retroactive benefits depending on your protective filing date. These are benefits between the time you became disabled to the time you applied for disability.

You may be eligible to receive benefits for up to 12 months before your filing date. Because the 5-month waiting rule applies to retroactive benefits as well, your onset date must be 17 months or more before your filing date.

Eligibility Date for SSI

If you are filing for SSI, a protective filing date will be established when you contact the SSA or visit a local Social Security field office with the intent of asking for disability benefits.

There can be several months from the time you first contacted the SSA and the date you applied for disability. You may be eligible to get back pay – up to two months before your filing date – if SSA deemed you disabled when your protective filing date was established.

The timing of a protective filing date can be the difference between receiving SSI benefits for an extra couple of months or not.

How to Establish a Protective Filing Date

The guidelines to establish a protective filing date are different based on the disability program you are applying for.  

For SSDI, you must send a written notice clearly stating your intent to apply for disability within the following six months. The notice must be signed by, a qualifying third party (i.e. guardian) or an SSA representative.

For SSI, you must apply no later than two months after initiating the claims process online or asking about applying for disability.  

Discuss Your Claim with a Qualified Attorney

Obtaining disability benefits can be a long and complicated process. A qualified Social Security Disability attorney in Phoenix is ready to help guide you through this process. Let us review your claim during a free consultation.

It costs nothing to speak with a member of our legal team. You are also not obligated to hire our firm even after we determine that you have a valid claim. If you decide to retain our services, there are no upfront fees. You pay us nothing unless we help you obtain benefits at the end of the claims process.

FREE Case Consultation: 1-800-503-2000