Over the years Social Security has moved more and more towards amending onset dates on disability cases. This results in lost income for both clients and representatives. In those cases, the representative must decide – based on the best interest of the client whether to appeal the decision or accept the reduction in back-pay and resultant loss of fees.
Sometimes Amending the Onset Date Can Help Win the Case
When looking at the case, the amendment may be a blessing in disguise. For example, an ALJ may amend the onset date to the client’s 55th birthday in lieu of denying the claim with an earlier onset date. Or, as a competent representative, you may need to change an onset date to help your client meet a GRID listing or for other tactical reasons. This should be discussed and explained to the client and based on your review of the record and your experience with the applicable ALJ.
How To Get Paid When the ALJ Amends the Onset Date
Sometimes, the ALJ will indicate that her/she is willing to approve a claim at the hearing with an amended onset date. However, you may not have that opportunity when you receive a “partially favorable” decision on a case to have input on the matter.
If you have a significant amount of documented time in a case, it may make sense for you to submit a fee petition. You can request and get approval to collect a fee in a case even if there is $0 backpay. That may not sound fair, but if you consider that you may be helping a client to “retire” early at their full PIA, it isn’t unreasonable to be compensated for your time.
Dibcase Can Help You Track Your Billable Time
The Dibcase Case Management solution helps you rack your billable time – generating a printout that can be attached to a completed Social Security fee petition.