In the last decade, there have been plenty of years in which the COLA, or…
Can you apply for disability retroactively?
Sort of. When you apply for disability, you start a claim with a Social Security office and that claim initially gets decided by the disability examiner who has been assigned to the case. The examiner will review your medical evidence and work history to decide if you either satisfy a disability listing, or may receive a medical vocational allowance approval.
The examiner will determine if you are disabled in the here and now and they will also set an EOD, or established onset date for you. This is when, according to Social Security, your disability began. Typically, your disability cannot begin any earlier than the medical establishes it, and not any earlier than the date of your filing application.
But, if your medical records provide enough proof, the examiner can establish a date of onset far enough back that you can receive retroactive benefits. This is because Social Security Disability does allow for up to 12 months of retroactive benefits.
Now, here’s the catch: because Social Security Disability has a 5 month waiting period, i.e. they will not pay you for the first five months you are medically eligible to receive disability…in order to get the full 12 months of retroactive benefits, your medical evidence would actually have to establish your disability onset date 17 months (12 +5) prior to your date of application.