This 'date' thing is a very common cause of confusion.
There is a difference of what you see (what you see is what format is applied on a field) and what field type data are stored in.
If the date in your database is already in a field of type 'date' or similar then you won't have problems - just access it with SAS.
It the date is stored as a character string then you will have to tell SAS how to read it - that would then be a Informat. SAS would then convert the string to a SAS date (that's a number). To look at it this SAS data you then best apply a Format to the variable (else you just will see a number).