January 18, 2022

What is a Social Security Protective Filing Date?


A protective filing date is the date you first notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of an intention to file for benefits. It may be the date you formally submit the application, but it may also be established by prior written or oral contact by telephone, post, in person or online.

You will be given a protective filing date regardless of the type of benefit you seek, but it is especially important in relation to: Additional security income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the two benefits that Social Security grants to people with disabilities.

At SSI, if your claim is approved, the protective filing date determines when your benefits begin. With SSDI, it affects how much you could receive in pay back, a form of retroactive effect for a period in which you were medically eligible for benefits, but your application had not yet been granted.

The process for establishing a protective filing date is slightly different for SSI and SSDI. This is how it works for any type of disability benefit.

SSI Protective Filing Date

You can determine your protection date for Supplementary Security Income orally or in writing. For instance:

  • Start by filling out a online app for disability benefits. After you enter a certain amount of information, you can save the application and get a re-entry number that you can use to continue later. By doing this, your protective filing date will be established by activating the local Social Security office to proceed and schedule an interview, as required by SSI.
  • Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to arrange a phone interview or face-to-face meeting at a local office. (SSA field offices have been) closed for most personal services during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
  • Pay a walk-in visit to your local Social Security office reopens. If you indicate that you intend to seek SSI, that date will be your protection date.

You must complete an SSI application within 60 days to establish the protection date.

If your SSI claim is approved, Social Security generally sets the benefit to begin on the first day of the calendar month following the protective filing date. Even a one day difference in setting the date can affect your benefit. For example, if October 31 is your protection date, you will be eligible for benefits. But if you wait until November 1 to determine the date, you will not be eligible for benefits until December 1.


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