protective filing date for Social Security disabilityAre you no longer able to work due to a long-term disability? If you're considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may have heard terms like “protective filing date” and “back pay” and wondered what they mean and how they might affect your application for benefits. Here's what you need to know, including how the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with Keefe Disability Law can help you protect your rights. 

What It Is and Why It Matters 

A protected filing date is the actual date you first notified the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your intention to apply for disability benefits. Establishing this date as early as possible is key. Here's why: In some cases, it can take months – or even years – for people to be approved for benefits, and the majority (roughly two-thirds) of applications are initially denied. The protective filing date establishes your eligibility so that if and when you are granted SSDI benefits, you can receive back pay for the period in which you were diagnosed with a medically-qualifying condition, but not yet approved for benefits. 

If your initial application for benefits is denied and you're able to successfully appeal the decision, you can receive back pay starting from the original protected filing date. Additionally, if the SSA determines that you became disabled prior to contacting them regarding your intention to seek benefits, you could also collect retroactive benefits for a period of up to 12 months before your protected filing date. However, if you choose to file a new application, rather than appealing a denied claim, you would have to start all over with a new protective filing date, which could cost you valuable disability benefits.

Establishing an SSDI Protective Filing Date 

The process is simple when it comes to establishing a protective filing date for a claim for disability benefits. It can even be completed on your behalf by a relative or caregiver if you prefer.

Three Ways to Lock In Your Protected Filing Date 

  1. Call 800-772-1213 to contact the SSA by phone to schedule a telephone interview or in-person appointment at your local Social Security office. Complete your application for SSDI benefits within six months.
  2. Go to your local Social Security office and state your intention to pursue SSDI benefits. (Make an appointment in advance to avoid long wait times.) Apply for benefits within six months.
  3. Start your application for disability benefits online. After completing the Internet Claim Applicant Identification screen, you'll receive an identification number that allows you to save your progress and log in to continue the application at a later time. This establishes your protected filing date and triggers your local Social Security office to contact you to schedule an interview. Complete your SSDI application within six months.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the SSA may dispute your protected filing date. This may be due to a lack of medical records clearly documenting the limitations caused by your disability or because you waited longer than six months to complete your SSDI application after establishing a protected filing date by notifying the SSA of your intent to apply for disability benefits. Fortunately, working with our seasoned Boston disability attorneys can help you avoid common mistakes that could delay the approval of your application.

How Our Massachusetts Disability Lawyers Can Assist You 

Since 1994, Keefe Disability Law's skilled legal team has helped countless clients apply for – and obtain – the SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits they need and deserve. We may be able to do the same for you. Our accomplished attorneys will guide you through each and every step of the Social Security disability applications process to ensure that you're able to get the benefits you need as quickly as possible. Ready to find out how we can assist you?

Complete our online contact form or call 508-283-5500 (or toll-free 888-904-6847) to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consultation with a member of our team. For additional information, request a free copy of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 888.904.6847 to schedule your free consultation.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer