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What is a Protective Filing Date blog header image

What is a Protective Filing Date

If you are planning to apply for SSDI it is crucial to understand the importance of a protective filing date. A protective filing date can have an impact on the amount you earn in benefits, or if you qualify for benefits at all. 

SSDI Qualification and DIL

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a benefits program maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI is meant to provide disabled workers with monthly benefits until they are able to return to the workforce. Some workers only need SSDI for a period of time, while others may use the program until they reach full retirement age. 

Regardless of your situation, in order to begin receiving benefits, you must meet Social Security’s SSDI qualification requirements. Part of their requirements are that the applicant must have worked five out of the last ten years. 

See: The full 5 step sequential process for qualifying for SSDI benefits

Much like other forms of insurance, Social Security disability insurance is a form of coverage. While you work and pay into Social Security trust funds through federal payroll taxes, you are insured. Once you are no longer working this insurance begins to run out, and when you have not worked five out of the last ten years you will no longer qualify for SSDI. The SSA calls the date your SSDI eligibility ends your Date Last Insured (DLI). 

When your DLI passes, the SSA will no longer consider you qualified for SSDI benefits, even if you meet all of their other qualification requirements. Many disabled workers often struggle with this rule. It is common for someone to stop working due to their condition and spend many years trying to get disability benefits. Without realizing it, people will pass their DLI and become ineligible for SSDI. 

How a Protective Filing Date Can Help

To avoid this from happening, Social Security allows you to create a protective filing date. 

The SSA defines a protective filing date as: the date the applicant first contacts SSA indicating an intent to file SSDI applications.

You can establish a protective filing date by contacting the SSA in person, with a phone call, or via an online application. With a walk in appointment to a Social Security field office, the date of your meeting becomes your protective filing date. If you call, the date of your phone call becomes your protective filing date. If you choose the digital route, the date you begin your online application will become your protective filing date. 

Once your establish a protective filing date, you are able to continue to be eligible for SSDI benefits even if your DLI has passed. The reason the SSA grants this extension is based on the fact that the applicant had established intent.

The ability to qualify for SSDI past your DLI is not the only benefit of a protective filing date.

Protective Filing Date and Retroactive Benefits

If the SSA approves you for SSDI benefits, a protective filing date could get you more money in retroactive benefits. The retroactive benefits you receive from the SSA cover the time between your protective filing date and the date that your benefits start. These benefits would come with the back pay that is typically awarded to SSDI beneficiaries regardless of if they have a protective filing date. 

How to Increase the Likelihood of a Successful Claim

Creating a protective filing date is a proactive way for an applicant to ensure that they will not become ineligible for benefits. It is also a way to increase the amount of money earned through an SSDI claim. However, these benefits will only matter if the claim is won. 

Hiring an attorney is one way to increase the odds of a successful claim. Studies have shown that you are twice as likely to win SSDI benefits if you have legal representation. 

See: Why should I hire an attorney for my disability claim?

Victory Disability is a nationwide law firm that specializes in helping claimants get the benefits they have earned and deserve. There is no fee unless we win, to start your claim today, visit us here