As I noted this past November, I am starting to see more instances when a judge will want to change the “onset date” for my client’s disability. What does this mean and should you be concerned?
Your onset date (called your Alleged Onset Date or AOD by Social Security) represents that date that you allege that you became disabled. Usually your AOD will be the day after you last worked, although in some instances I have been able to argue for an AOD that was two or three months prior to my client’s last day of work if my client had changed from full time to part time, if the job had become a “make work” situation or if my client was missing days or parts of days.
Similarly, I have tried cases in which the AOD was several months after the last day of work. This happens when a person is laid off because his employer is cutting staff and the medical evidence shows that the employee’s disability began at some point after the layoff.
In general, however, as rule of thumb, the last day of work is a good choice for your Alleged Onset Date.
Why, then, would a judge change your onset date? Usually, a Social Security judge will try to associate your onset date to a specific medical treatment record. For example, if the basis of your disability is back pain and an MRI showing a herniated disc is dated September 28, the judge may choose September 28 as the onset date. Obviously in this example, your disc was herniated on September 27 and probably on August 27 and July 27 as well, but September 28 is a date on which there is objective evidence of a medical problem consistent with your testimony. [Read more…]