If we receive a valid application or protective writing through the U.S. mail, the
postmark date is the receipt date if use of that date is more advantageous to the
claimant than the actual receipt date. If the U.S. postmark date is missing or illegible,
presume a receipt date 5 days before the actual receipt date. If evidence exists indicating
that the applicant mailed the application less than 5 days before it is received,
presume that the individual mailed the application on the date supported by the evidence.
For example, if a claimant signed an application on 03/29/16 and we received it on
04/01/16, you can use 03/29/16 as the application receipt date if it is more advantageous
to the claimant.
CAUTION: Be alert to instances where the claimant's protective filing period ended before
we receive a signed application. In these instances, it is important to review the
evidence, including the postmark date on the envelope, to determine the most advantageous
application receipt date.
EXAMPLE 1: Postmark date establishes a more advantageous filing date
The claimant signs their retirement application on 11/28/15 and mails it the same
day at their local U.S. post office. The field office (FO) receives the application
on 12/03/15. The claimant's 6-month protective filing closeout period ended on 10/30/15.
Since we received the signed application after the closeout period ended, the claims
specialist (CS) reviews the application and envelope and determines that the postmark
date of 11/28/15 establishes a more advantageous receipt date than the actual receipt
date of 12/03/15. The CS uses the electronic evidence screen to document the 11/28/15
application receipt date and establishes 11/28/15 as the application filing date.
EXAMPLE 2: Postmark date does not result in a more advantageous filing date
The claimant signs their retirement application on 09/26/15 and mails it at their
local U.S. post office on the same day. The FO receives the application on 09/28/15.
The claimant's 6-month protective filing closeout period ended on 08/31/15. The CS
reviews the application and envelope and determines that the postmark date of 09/26/15
does not result in a more advantageous filing date than 09/28/15, the actual receipt
date. The CS establishes 09/28/15 as the application filing date.