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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

DISABILITY BENEFIT TIP: What is the “Date Last Insured”?

Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits are like an insurance program. While you are working, the FICA taxes you pay go toward your “premium.” After you stop working, your coverage lapses about five years later. The day this coverage lapses is called your date last insured (“DLI”). In order to be approved for SSDI benefits, you must be able to prove that you were disabled while still insured.

For example, if Client A was in a car accident in March 2000 and became unable to work, his DLI would be about five years later, or around March 2005. Even if he applies for benefits after that date, he could still be found eligible for SSDI benefits because he was “insured” at the time he became disabled. Even if Client A is found to be currently disabled, his claim will not be approved unless he can prove he was disabled before March 31, 2005. Note however, that waiting to apply for disability benefits can make the claim very difficult, as doctors’ offices tend to purge old records and Social Security relies on those records to make their decision.

As another example, Client B stopped working in March 2000 (but was still physically and mentally capable of working). His DLI was about five years later, or around March 2005. In August 2006, he was in a car accident and became disabled. He will not qualify for SSDI benefits because he was not “insured” at the time he became disabled.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has different requirements for eligibility. Even if you do not qualify for SSDI benefits, you may still be able to receive SSI benefits.

Remember: Your date last insured does not affect when you must apply for benefits, but you must show that your disability began during the time you were insured.

Copyright (c) 2008 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Long Term Disability claim, ERISA Disability benefit claim, Social Security Disability claim, or Veterans Disability compensation or pension claim, call Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

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