April 23, 2014

What is my “Date Last Insured?”

Back in January, I answered a question from a blog reader about Social Security disability credits.  That reader wondered why Social Security had advised her that she had “run out of credits.”

You earn credits based on earnings during the approximately 10 year period prior to filing for disability.  If you wait too file or if you allege disability as of a date where your credits have run out, you cannot recover disability benefits (you could recover SSI, but SSI benefits are usually lower than SSDI and SSI will be offset by household income or assets).

When you file for benefits, Social Security calculates something called your “date last insured.”  As long as the judge or adjudicator finds you disabled on or before your date last insured, you will receive disability benefits.  If you are found disabled after your date last insured, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.

In my law practice, one of my first tasks with any new client is to determine that client’s date last insured.  I have learned the hard way that if I am successful in proving disability, but the onset date used by the judge is after the date last insured, my client won’t receive any benefits and I won’t get paid for my efforts.

My colleague Social Security lawyer Tomasz Stasiuk in Colorado, recently posted a very well written explanation of the date last insured issue.  Take a minute and read Tomasz’ post because it clearly discusses and explains the major issues related to your date last insured.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to my site. I always enjoy reading your Social Security Disability Blog.

  2. charles grob says:

    I was asked recently by a lawyer to find out from ssa about my dla (date last insured)
    Can that be obtained online ? Thank You,
    Sincerely charles grob

  3. Charles, I can access this information online when I represent a client, so your lawyer ought to be able to get this as well. Otherwise, you should be able to call SSA at 800-772-1213 and ask, or you can download form SSA-7004 and obtain info about your DLI by mail.

  4. Linnette A. says:

    My date last insured was 12/31/2005. Can I file a SSDI claim today in an effort to establish my disability existed prior to my date last insured. I never filed for SSDI because (1) I didn’t know I could and (2) I received workmen’s comp and thought that was all I was entitled to.

  5. Linette, yes you can file a claim today alleging an onset prior to your 12/2005 date last insured. You will need solid medical proof that your disability began prior to 2005 – it can be done but you will be facing an uphill battle as many judges do not like to go that far back when deciding onset. You can only get paid 1 year prior to the date of your SSDI application, however.

  6. Alisha Johnson says:

    I have an upcoming hearing this Wednesday. I am afraid that my attorney isnt doing a good job. I got a call from her a week ago asking me about an unsuccessful work attempt and havent heard anything else from her. I had to call and double check to see if they had all my updated medical records, even though I gave them updates after every appointment, and they didnt. I had a discectomy at L5-S1 3/12 and that was unsuccesful and a repeat of the same 5/12. I also had laser surgery on both eyes 6/12 due to macular holes along with horrible migraines, high blood pressure and anemia. My lawyer is guessing along the way to me. My DLI is 12/31/14. I filed for ssdi 06/11. She (my lawyer) has no insight as to if i can win at my hearing or not. Because I was released from my neurosurgeon minutes after he said my disc was like a flat tire and i would need a fusion and refused, im afraid that i dont qualify for benefits. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

  7. Alisha, when I prepare a case, I like to go in with a firm “theory of disability” – meaning that I am prepared to explain why my client is disabled (does she meet a listing, have functional capacity limitations, or meet a grid rule). I also want to make sure that my client’s testimony, if accepted as credible, would describe limitations that would prevent full time work. Your lawyer needs to have a clear idea what she is trying to prove. I would ask your lawyer to present her opening argument to you and to review with you the questions she plans to ask during your direct examination.

  8. I filed for disability back in 2007. I was denied twice by the same judge. Found out later that my attorney and judge hated each other with a passion. This was told to me by my attorney. In the meantime I thought my attorney filed for an appeal which he did not. He only filed for a SSI claim. Since then I was awarded 100% disability through Veteran Affairs. Now I have a hearing coming up in 2 weeks and my lawyer says there is no need to go because my SSI claim will be denied because my income is to high. So I say to him I thought you appealed my case and he says no. Now I have no credits and the attorney and judge have retired. I have worked all my life to pay into a system in case something like this happened and feel railroaded because these two people don't like each other. Is there anything I can do? I don't deserve this.

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