If you just became disabled, paperwork and logistics are the last things on your mind. But establishing a protective filing date as soon as your disability starts helps maximize any retroactive pay the SSA owes you. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) can aid you financially while you are unable to work. And since time is literally money when it comes to receiving your first check, it’s important to move fast.
What is a Protective Filing Date?
But first, what is a protective filing date? It’s the date you contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and notify them of your intent to apply for benefits. This date is honored as the application date even if the date is earlier than the actual date you submit your application. And since the application process can be time-consuming, this date can make a significant difference.
This date also gives you more time to complete the SSDI application. Since you are “protected” essentially with your filing date already, there’s not a huge rush to submit your application. This gives you time to recover and rehabilitate after your recent disability. In order to receive SSD benefits, the disabled individual or someone on their behalf must file the claim. And if you’re not certain whether you’ll need to file or not, this date protects you while you decide.
Your PFD also gets you more money. The SSA can retroactively apply any back-owed SSDI benefits after they approve your claim. If approved, you can receive retroactive benefits for SSDI for up to 12 months prior to your PFD. The sooner you establish your protective filing date, the more retroactive benefits you may qualify for.
How Do You Initiate a Protective Filing Date?
Achieving protective filing status can be done in multiple ways. You can file:
- In person at an SSA office;
- Over the phone; or
- Through the mail; or
- Online through the SSA’s website. If you’re filing online, make sure you request an inquiry. This automatically establishes your disability protective filing date.
After they receive your intent to file a disability claim, the SSA will send you a notice. It states that you have six months to fill out the application. If you take longer than that, the protective filing date is considered null and void. From there, you have to contact the SSA to establish a new one.
Schedule a Free Review With One of Our Local Disability Advocates
The filing process can be notoriously confusing. Consider speaking to one of our experienced disability attorneys or advocates. They’ll make sure you officially receive the protective filing date you need. Then they’ll aid with your application so you can work on recovering and adjusting to your new disability. Click the button below to start your free, no-obligation disability benefits evaluation now.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.