If you are filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you need to know what protective filing dates are, and why they are important. Not knowing could cost you.

Protective Filing Date in Hamilton Township, NJ

The protective filing date is the date you first contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) with your intent to file an application for SSDI or SSI. The protective filing date determines when you can start getting SSI benefits.

SSDI Eligibility and Protective Filing Dates

If you worked for an employer who paid Social Security taxes, you may be eligible for SSDI. When you pay Social Security taxes, it is like paying insurance premiums against future disability. That means that, if you want to get SSDI benefits, you should apply within five months of when your employment ends.

If you quit working and do not apply for SSD benefits, you begin losing work credits. Once the number of work credits fall below the minimum amount required to apply for full SSDI benefits, you will no longer be covered for full SSDI as of that date.  Therefore, if you cannot prove your disability began before that date, your only benefit option will be SSI.  To qualify for SSI, you not only need to prove you are disabled, but that you meet the financial requirements. If you have property or savings valued at greater than $2,000, although you may be able to prove you are disabled, you will not qualify for SSI benefits.  The date your SSDI eligibility ends is called the date last insured, or DLI.

What does a protective filing date have to do with all of this? A protective filing date indicates that you have made a written statement of intent to apply for SSDI to the SSA. A protective filing date can extend your SSDI eligibility.

Protective Filing Dates and Retroactive Benefits

A protective filing date can also mean you will get more money from the SSA if your application for SSDI is approved. You could get up to a year’s worth of retroactive benefits, based on your protective filing date.

SSDI benefits do not start until five months after the SSA determines that you are, in fact, disabled. You can get retroactive benefits for the 12 months before your protective filing date. This means you will need to have been disabled for a total of 17 months prior to your protective filing date in order to get a year of retroactive payments.

Protective Filing Dates and SSI

But what if you do not have a work history? You may still qualify for SSI benefits. All you need to do is prove that you are disabled and that you meet the income and asset requirements for SSI. As an SSI applicant, you will be given a protective filing date when you call the SSA to ask about applying for benefits.

You can receive retroactive benefits back to the protective filing date, up to two months earlier than the date you filed your application, as long as you can prove to the SSA that you were disabled as of the time you established the protective filing date. This can get you a couple of extra months of SSI payments.

But, unlike with SSDI, there is not a five-month waiting period for SSI benefits based on disability. Your benefits will begin a month after your application date, or a month after your protective filing date was established.

Establishing a Protective Filing Date

In order to establish a protective filing date for SSDI, you need to:

  • Submit a signed, written notification to the SSA that declares your intention to file for SSDI within the next six months.
  • Include the date you completed your Internet Claim Applicant Identification screen and received an Application Number.
  • Include a clear statement of your intention to file for SSDI benefits.
  • Make sure that you, an SSA employee, or a qualified third party has signed the statement.
  • Make sure that you file your application for SSDI within six months of the date you submit this letter of intent.

The guidelines for establishing a protective filing date for SSI are less stringent. You will only need to call the SSA or go to an office in person to ask about filing for SSI. You can also start the process by initiating the application process online; you dd  not even need to finish the application, as the date you start it will establish a protective filing date.

However, you have to submit your application for SSI within two months of starting your online application or inquiring about your benefits. If you do not apply for your disability benefits within the time limit – six months for SSDI and two months for SSI – you will lose your protective filing date.

An Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help

The process of applying for disability benefits from the SSA is complicated. A disability attorney can help you navigate this process successfully, so you can get the benefits you need.

Contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo as soon as possible at (609) 677-1700, or fill out the form online to schedule your free consultation. We can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation that you deserve.