Many people who are no longer able to work in California due to a disability can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. When the claim is approved, the claimant is awarded back pay based on the date of onset of the disability. The onset date is determined by the administration after an examination of the claimant’s medical records.

Back pay can be awarded based on an onset date that was prior to a previous denial if an administrative law judge or the administration determines that the prior decision was incorrect. For this reason, it is important for claimants to extensively list every condition that affects their ability to work, all medications they are taking and how their conditions affect their daily life. Claims that have been appealed multiple times have the potential for substantial back pay for the claimant when they are finally approved.

Even though a favorable determination is based on a disability applicant’s current condition, applicants should keep in mind the importance of past medical records for establishing the history of their disability. This is relevant for proving that the disability exists as well as a determination of the date of onset of the disability.

An attorney with experience handling Social Security disability claims may be able to help claimants get their claim approved. Applying for benefits can involve multiple appeals, piles of paperwork and frustration. Having an advocate handle the paperwork and make sure that all important deadlines are met might make the process go much more smoothly.

An attorney may be able to help claimants ensure that they receive as much back pay as the administration will allow based on their condition by ensuring that all medical records are complete. If the Social Security Administration’s records are missing records documenting treatment, this could make a huge difference in the amount of back pay the claimant is awarded upon approval of the claim.