One issue that often confuses disability applicants is the date last insured (DLI).
To understand the date last insured, you first have to consider the nature of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
As the name implies, SSDI is like an insurance policy. When you are working, you pay into this policy through payroll taxes, and when you become disabled, you should be able to collect on it.
But SSDI runs out when you stop working and paying into it, usually a few years later.
This can have a grave impact on SSDI cases.
Let’s say you stop working in 2008, and your DLI is December 31, 2013. You then file for SSDI in April 2016.
While your condition may be disabling at the time that you file, that will not help your claim get approved. You must show that you were disabled prior to the end of 2013.
Unfortunately, there are many cases in which individuals wait to file for SSDI, and with limited medical evidence prior to the DLI, it’s difficult if not impossible to prove their case.
There are two ways around the DLI issue, however.
Remember that Social Security encourages you to attempt to work while your claim is pending. You can remain below Social Security’s work limits for disability (currently $1,180 per month) and still receive quarterly work credits that will extend your date last insured.
Currently, one work credit is earned for every $1,320 of earnings.
Another way to avoid issues with the DLI is to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) along with SSDI.
SSI does not require work credits to earn, but there are asset limits to qualify for it. In addition, the monthly SSI benefit is usually less than what you would get from SSDI. And while you receive Medicare two years after your onset of disability with SSDI, SSI recipients do not receive this.