Onset Date and Consultative Exam: Two Keys to Disability Benefits

Attorney Wade Coye

Wade Coye, Disability Attorney

The onset date is the first day your medical condition meets the threshold of severity outlined by the Social Security Administration for collection of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. This means your condition or injury was severe enough to interfere with work and keep you from “substantial gainful activity.” Also, the condition or injury needs to have lasted for at least 12 months, and be expected to last at least 12 months more. These are just a couple of the many requirements that you must meet to begin receiving payment of Social Security Disability benefits.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as your medical condition keeps you from working and inform your primary care physician that you are attempting to collect Social Security disability benefits for your injury. When investigating your claim for benefits, the Social Security Administration will use the records from past medical exams and treatments as the primary evidence in your assessment for benefits. The earlier your condition can be documented, the sooner you can collect disability benefits. It is also important to file for disability benefits as soon as this severity threshold is met and after it is documented by a medical provider.

If there is not sufficient documentation from your primary care doctor than you will be asked to attend a consultative examination for the Social Security Administration. While these exams are helpful in determining the severity of your injury, it means that there was not sufficient evidence and documentation to prove the severity of your disability from past medical treatments and examinations. Without prior evidence of disability it is much more difficult to establish the severity of your condition from just this one visit. Even if the consultative exam does determine your disability is sufficiently severe, this will mark the onset date, and Social Security disability benefits cannot be received for another 12 months. That is why you should seek medical attention immediately after a debilitating accident or a regressive ailment keeps you from working. The sooner your condition is identified and documented the sooner you can begin to receive Social Security disability benefits. If you believe you qualify for disability benefits it is important to contact a Social Security disability attorney with experience helping clients apply for Social Security benefits and representing those who have received their due payments from the Social Security Administration.

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