If the Social Security Administration (SSA) awards you an established onset date (EOD) that is later than you think it should be, it may be tempting to appeal the decision. However, this is not always the best idea. The disability lawyers at Berger and Green can review the facts of your case and help you determine if appealing your partial award is worth the risk of losing your benefits.
Sometimes, a disability applicant ends up losing a partial award after a Social Security Disability appeal. This is because the administrative law judge will review the entire claim during the hearing. If they decide you should not receive even partial benefits, you will lose out on your monthly payments altogether.
There is no way to just have the administrative law judge who reviews your case consider whether your EOD is accurate. Any appeal of a disability decision calls for a review of your entire file. This means you stand to lose the partial award, as well. This could happen if the judge determines there was an error in assigning this date, or if they do not believe you meet the requirements for benefits. If they decide you are not disabled at any time, you will lose out on your monthly benefits altogether.
What Is a Partial Award?
Sometimes, the SSA grants an applicant only a partial award. This occurs when you apply for disability benefits, but the SSA determines you did not meet qualifications until a later date than you asked for in your application. A partial award affects your back benefits, including your back pay and any available retroactive pay.
If there is a significant gap between your original date you asked for in your application and EOD, the decision to give you only a partial award could cost you thousands of dollars or more. We can help you decide if it is worth it to challenge a partial award.
Am I at Risk of Losing My Partial Award?
Some cases pose a greater risk than others when it comes to filing an appeal.
However, some people qualify based on a specific event such as an accident then qualify based on a chronic condition described in treatment notes from their doctor in their medical records or their residual functional capacity, which is an assessment of their ability to work. These are much more open to interpretation and could lead to another judge overturning your partial award.
The best way to assess your risk is to let us evaluate your case. We understand what it takes to get disability benefits and can explain how an appeal could affect your monthly cash payments and back pay.
What Do I Need to Know About the Appeals Process?
You have 60 days after the date you receive your award letter to appeal your EOD. It can take as long as 18 months or even longer for your hearing to arrive.
If you appeal your EOD, you can continue to receive your benefits while you wait for your hearing. If we win the appeal, you will also receive additional back pay.
What Happens If I Lose My Partial Award?
If you appeal and the judge overturns your partial award, the SSA will likely consider the payments you received during this period as overpayments. How the organization handles this, however, depends heavily on your circumstances. Ultimately, the SSA makes this decision. We will do everything we can to help you avoid this situation.
How Can I Talk to a Disability Appeals Attorney?
If you are considering appealing your EOD, Berger and Green can help. We can explain the risks associated with challenging a partial award based on the facts of your case. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for a free review.