Re: Approved at hearing level..but have some questions and some advice
Congratulations on your quick approval, Debbie! Now for my 2 cents worth -
Ignore the 2012. When one quits work, they are insured until all their work credits "roll off", which is usually 5 years later. As long as the person applies while they are SSDI insured, they can get approved. If one applies after the 5 year period when they have no more credits (as I did), they have to provide doctor records proving the disability began before the work credits rolled off. In your case, it means your credits don't run out until 2012, so there was no question as to whether you were insured or not. This only has to do with whether you qualify to receive SSDI benefits, nothing else.
The "onset date", on the other hand, is very important. It affects when Medicare kicks in, and how much backpay is received. The application date also affects the amount of backpay. Backpay only goes back 1 year from the application date, regardless of the onset date. Since you were approved so quickly, you may not get much backpay, and may have to wait a couple of years for Medicare to kick in.
Now here's something that is confusing. You want your onset date to be 1 year and 5 months or more before your application date to keep all your benefits. There is a 5 month waiting period from the onset date where you don't get the money for those first 5 months.
Example 1. Filed Jan 2009. Onset date March, 2007. Waiting period ends July 2007. They only go back 1 year to Jan 2008 for backpay. So you get all the backpay. Medicare starts Jan 2010, which is 24 months after 1st month of benefits (Jan 2008).
Example 2. Filed Jan 2009. Onset date Oct 2008. They go back only to onset date of Oct 2008. Waiting period ends Feb 2009. So backpay starts March of 2009. Medicare starts Mar 2011, which is 24 months after 1st month of benefits (March 2009).
SSDI benefits will continue until normal retirement age, at which time the same amount of money will still arrive, but from a different pot of money. Instead of disability benefits, it will then be called retirement benefits. Basically, they look at SSDI as giving out the retirement benefits early, since the person cannot continue working.
Sometimes a "review" is scheduled for 3-7 years, just to see if the person is still disabled. To "get" SSDI one must prove their disability. At a review, to "stop" SSDI, SSA has to prove the person is NOT disabled. As long as the medical condition is the same, or at least not improved enough to go back to work, and there are continuing medical records, SSDI benefits should continue.