Disability Attorney did not advise filing an appeal

Appealing to get a better onset date can be risky

My husband was granted monthly disability income beginning 5 months following his 50th birthday. He was denied a lump sum, although his disability began several years before his birthday. The disability letter stated his disability began that day.

The letter did say we could file an appeal, but the attorney did not recommend filing a claim, as he said my husband could lose the monthly benefit awarded.

Any advice would be appreciated. He has not been able to work for almost 5 years and was working long after he should have stopped.

Thank you

My guess would be that your attorney is absolutely correct in advising you not to appeal the date of onset for your husband's disability. Social Security Disability vocational guidelines are based upon age, education, vocational background etc.

At the age of 50. the vocational guidelines are more favorable than at age 49. For your attorney to advise against pursing an earlier onset, they must feel that your husband would not be approved for disability benefits if the decision is based upon the ages of 45-49.

While it is not common, a Social Security ALJ can overturn an approval for Social Security Disability benefits should they be requested to review the case on the basis of an earlier onset of disability. If they determine that he was not disabled at that time, they may feel he is not disabled at 50. It is a chance, every disability beneficiary takes if they file an appeal for an earlier date of disability.

For Social Security, it does not really matter that he worked long after he should have stopped working or that he has not worked for five years. It is strictly an evaluation of your husband's disabling condition and when the vocational rules and medical evidence support a finding of disabled. And in your husband's case, it was his 50th birthday. Then, of course, there is the five month waiting period all Social Security Disability beneficiaries have.

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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