Law Firm Blog

What Does "Date Last Insured" Mean?

Victims who were working when they became disabled are eligible to file SSD applications.

The DLI is crucial for determining Social Security Disability benefits eligibility. Basically, the applicant’s disability must have occurred while the applicant was still employed and earning work credits. So, from one perspective, the DLI is almost irrelevant, as long as the applicant can prove, usually through medical records, that the disability occurred before the DLI. However, the longer people wait to file, the more likely your date last insured becomes remote (passes without a disability determination).

The DLI is also related to work credits. Generally, applicants must have twenty credits over the past ten years to qualify for SSD benefits. Most full-time employees earn four credits per year (one every quarter).

Many people do not immediately file SSD applications when they become medically eligible. Instead, they try to tough it out as long as possible. Additionally, a doctor never says “You have a disability.” Instead, a doctor says a person has a certain medical condition which may or may not be disabling, depending on some other factors. So, when you get bad news from a doctor, it is important to reach out to a Tampa Social Security Disability attorney as soon as possible. People who delay could lose the ability to obtain monthly cash and other benefits.

Am I Disabled?

DLI is a threshold issue that forces a Disability Determination Services officer to examine the merits of a disability claim. The DDS officer will approve that claim if the applicant:

Significantly, SSD applicants can be working and still be disabled. Many people that our Tampa Social Security Disability lawyers assist are working part-time or in a job that does not qualify as SGE (substantial gainful employment), which is basically a job that does not pay enough to lift the applicant, and any dependents, above the poverty line.

This same principle applies to current beneficiaries. These individuals can work, as long as they do not earn enough money at that job to lift them over the SGE threshold.

The SSD Process

DLI determinations are relatively straightforward. The applicant was either working at the time or was not working at the time. Other portions of the SSD application process are much less straightforward.

We discussed SSD eligibility requirements above. Questions often arise in one or more areas. For example, if Rachel had a good work record and suddenly quit her job right before she filed, a DDS officer might claim that she quit her job to bolster her application, not because of a medical disability.

Next, a senior DDS officer usually re-examines the claim. Unless the first officer made an egregious error, the senior officer almost always affirms the initial finding.

The first two review levels are generally paper reviews. The environment is different at an Administrative Law Judge appeal hearing. At these hearings, Tampa Social Security Disability lawyers can make legal arguments, challenge evidence, refute evidence, and otherwise do their jobs. So, applicants have a much better chance of obtaining benefits at this point.

Count on a Reliable Hillsborough County SSD Lawyer

A favorable DLI determination allows a victim to file a disability claim. For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Tampa, contact the Rooth Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.