Many of our Social Security Disability and SSI clients have conditions and injuries that date back years before they became disabled and stopped working. Sometimes Social Security cases overlap with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, veterans claims, and long-term disability claims. As we have discussed in a previous post, the onset date can be critical in disability claims.
When our cases reach the hearing level, a letter is sent from the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review requesting that evidence be submitted dating back a year prior to the onset date in the claim. Sometimes my clients have evidence that is significantly older than a year prior to the onset date, and we must decide if that evidence should be submitted. Our recommendation is to let a lawyer review the older evidence to see if it should be submitted at all and how much to submit. The lawyer knows the theory of disability that is being pursued and how best to prove it up.
Submitting older evidence is sometimes critical to the theory of the case. Recently we represented a claimant who suffered from bipolar disorder for over ten years. The complete set of medical records were over 500 pages long. Cases like this require a judgment call to be made about how far back to submit evidence and the reason for doing so. Amending the onset date may be one reason for submitting older records, but amending an onset date should only be done after several considerations.
We welcome discussing the particulars of your disability claim so we can help you decide how to best increase your chances for an award of benefits.