If you miss your Social Security application appointment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) gives you an additional six months to submit your application. As long as you do so, you retain your protective filing date as the day you initially contacted the SSA. If you do not refile within the six-month window, you must start the process over with a new, and later, protective filing date.
Social Security Disability Application Appointments Matter
There are two main reasons that application appointments are so necessary. One, the later you file, the later you begin receiving benefits if approved, as the SSA reviews claims in the order it receives them. Two, in many situations, the SSA awards retroactive benefits, which can extend back as far as 12 months before your protective filing date.
The earlier your filing date is, the better, as it results in more back pay. So, while missing your application appointment is not the end of the world, you do not want to let the subsequent six-month window slip by, as this causes you to miss out on both benefits and back pay.
During Social Security disability appointment you will meet with a claims representative, whose job is to do the intake for your claim — walking you through the application, gathering your medical evidence and supporting documentation, determining where you have received treatment and which doctors and hospitals you have visited, and so forth.
With this information in hand, the claims examiner can submit it to a disability examiner for review. The benefit of attending an application appointment is that you receive confirmation by the time you leave that the claims examiner has all the information he or she needs. For example, your medical treatment history, work history, and list of medications to move your claim to the next stage of the process.
What to Do After You Miss an Application Appointment
Within a few days to a week of missing your meeting, you can expect to receive a piece of mail from the SSA known as a closeout letter. This letter reminds you that you were not at your appointment and explains the six-month window during which you must submit your disability application to keep your original protective filing date.
For an example of how this process works, imagine that you contacted the SSA on March 1, about filing for benefits. The phone representative schedules you an application appointment for March 15. Extenuating circumstances caused you to miss this appointment.
A few days later, you receive a closeout letter. The letter explains that you have until September 1, to complete your application for benefits; otherwise, your protective filing date of March 1 becomes void, and you must start the process over. Before you realize it, the six-month window has passed, and you have not submitted your application.
On October 1, you contact the SSA once again, and you receive another application appointment date, this time for October 15. You attend the appointment and get your application submitted. Because you let the initial six-month window pass, however, your protective filing date is October 1, rather than March 1.
The Importance of a Protective Filing Date
Aside from knowing when to apply for SSA, your protective filing date determines how far back you can collect retroactive benefits.
Assuming that your date of disability, when you received a diagnosis of your disabling condition is March 1, 2016, exactly one year before you first contacted the SSA about filing for benefits.
The SSA provides up to 12 months of back pay, using your filing date as the starting point to count backward. The earlier filing date of March 1, 2017, would have allowed you to receive back pay all the way to your date of disability.
The later filing date, in contrast, entitles you to back pay only as far back as October 1, 2017. By missing your appointment and not subsequently completing your application within the six-month window, you effectively forfeit seven months of benefits.
Free Social Security Disability Case Review
At the Disability Advantage Group, we understand the SSA’s many rules and guidelines are complex and can trip up applicants. We want to make sure that does not happen to you and that you receive all the disability benefits you deserve and leave nothing on the table. We want to offer you a free claim evaluation and answer all your questions. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at 1-865-566-0800.