Can I lose my disability benefit if I file an appeal for back pay?
If you were approved for disability benefits, Social Security established the date they considered you to be disabled. Sometimes this date is after the date you allege that you became disabled. If you are not satisfied with the date Social Security established as the onset date, you are allowed to file an appeal of the decision.
However, appealing the onset date is not always the best idea as it could cause your partial disability award to be reversed. There is always a chance this could happen because the appeal opens the door for another person to review your disability file. They may determine that you were not disabled to begin with. This is especially true if your disability onset appeal goes before an administrative law judge for review. Any appeal of a disability claim requires an ALJ or disability specialist to review the entire disability file and as you might guess this can result in your losing your disability entitlement.
It would most likely be wise to thoroughly review your options with your representative prior to filing an appeal of your partial award of disability.
Some disability decisions are more risky than others when filing an onset date appeal. For instance, if a disability claim involves a decision based on a chronic condition that affects an individual's functional ability, it has more of a chance of resulting in a reversal to a denial of the partial disability award. Why? If you are allowed on the basis of residual functional capacity the medical evidence is open to interpretation, therefore another person reviewing the same evidence might determine that you are not disabled..
In summary, it is a very real possibility that you could lose your disability benefits upon a review of your medical evidence. Consequently, you should seek the advice of your disability attorney or representative as to your potential risk with regard to having your partial award overturned with an onset date appeal.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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