Disability Associates explains the meaning of a protective filing date as it applies to Social Security disability benefits.

The protective filing date is the date that marks when an individual initially calls or visits the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the stated intent of filing for Social Security disability benefits. This date can be later used as the date of application, even if the individual filing doesn’t complete an official application during the initial contact.

Establishing this date as soon as you become disabled plays an important role in the Social Security disability application process for several reasons.

It is important to secure a protective filing date as it is used to determine the date of eligibility if your claim is approved, which directly affects the amount of backpay an individual is owed. Backpayments are the earnings included in the Social Security disability benefits an individual receives that account for the time period that the individual could have been receiving benefits, but didn’t due to the duration of the application process.

Another factor that supports the importance of establishing a protective filing date is that this date helps prolong the time limit that becomes enforced when filing for Social Security disability. In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the disabled individual (or someone on his or her behalf, such as a disability attorney) needs to file a claim, or at least state that there is an intent to file, within 17 months of the disability’s onset. This is a key point because if you are unsure of whether you will file for disability benefits, initiating the process to secure a protective filing date protects your right to file for Social Security benefits for an extended period of time.

There are multiple ways in which an individual can achieve protective filing status when considering the application process for Social Security disability benefits. Applicants can file in person at an SSA office, over the phone or through the mail. Applicants can also opt to file online through the SSA’s website. When choosing to file online, be sure to request an inquiry to guarantee that the disability protective filing date has been established.

Upon receiving the intent to file a disability claim, the SSA will send the applicant a notice informing him or her that the application must be filed within the next six months or else the date becomes null and void. After this time period has lapsed, the applicant must contact the SSA to establish a new protective filing date.

For more information on protective filing dates or assistance with your personal circumstances, please contact Disability Associates today.