A person asked a question as to when he would be determined to be disabled. He was treated by a chiropractor and wanted to know if his opinion would help. Last, he wanted to know when his payments might start.

You have raised several questions. The date you become disabled is called the date of onset. It is the date when all of the evidence shows you are disabled. Proving you are disabled can depend on your education, work history, and age. It can be the date you said you became disabled or it can be some other date that is more appropriate. It can be years ago or it can be very recent. Normally, you have to be disabled for at least 12 months at the time of the hearing. So, for example, you may believe you became disabled January 1, 2010 but all of the evidence supports a finding of March 1, 2012. By the time of your hearing, you would have been disabled at least 12 months.

The second question raised by you is whether the opinion of a chiropractor is adequate to prove disability. Unfortunate, it rarely is. He is what is called a nonacceptable medical source. An acceptable medical source is typically a medical doctor, osteopath or psychologist. There are some other exceptions. Most judges will ignore the opinion of a chiropractor. If you can get treatment with a medical doctor, that is better. If you can get an opinion from that same doctor that sets forth significant limitations, that is even better. Typically, if a physician states you are unable to work or are disabled, that is ignored. Rather, Social Security is looking for the limitations set forth by the physician such as how much you can lift, how long you can sit, how long you can stand and how many hours a day you can work.

The third question raised by you is how far back payment can be made. If you are insured for Social Security Disability, it can pay back up to one year prior to the date of application. If you are entitled only to SSI, the payments begin one month after the date of application. All this depends, of course, on the date of onset. The date of onset may be after the application depending on what you can prove. Further, Social Security Disability does not pay the first full five months of your disability. So, for example, if you are disabled January 1, 2010, the first payment is due June 1, 2010.