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What Is a Protective Filing Date for Social Security Disability?

When you file a Social Security Disability claim, there are certain safeguards put in place to help ensure that your claim is reviewed and considered in a timely manner. Your protective filing date is secured once you contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that you intend to file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. Once this status is confirmed, it’s considered to be your official application date — even if it’s earlier than the date when the SSA actually receives your signed and completed application. Your protective filing date, along with your SSDI’s date last insured are both crucial in determining your awarded benefits.

Why Should I Be Concerned with Protective Filing Status?

The reason that securing a protective filing date is so important is because it can have a great effect on your benefits once they have been awarded. An earlier filing date can influence your entitlement date and affect both your ongoing benefits and backdated pay.

Although the SSA recommends that claimants file their applications online, the only way to secure protective filing status is to complete your application in person. To safely secure this important date, you must:

  • Submit a signed, written statement expressing your intent to claim benefits
  • Mail the statement to the SSA (certified mail with return receipt is often the best option)
  • Record the postmarked date, as this will become the official date of your statement
  • Make a copy of your written, date-stamped statement to keep for your personal records
  • Keep a record of any resulting correspondence from the Social Security Administration

Once the SSA has received your statement, they should respond with a notice outlining that your application must be completed and filed within 6 months for a Social Security Disability Income claim (SSDI) and 2 months of a Supplemental Security Income claim (SSI).

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