What is a Date Last Insured?

Don't ruin your case before you even apply for Social Security Benefits.

I think that the most important thing a person can do before filing your application for Social Security Disability benefits is to contact the local Social Security office and find out what your date last insured is. This date is also known as the "DLI."

Get Your Date Last Insured Before you Apply for Social Security Disability.

Your DLI is important to an application for disability benefits because for an individual to eventually win a disability case that person needs to prove he or she was unable to work a full-time job on or before the date last insured.

This date is critically important to individuals who have not worked consistently over the last several years. Pretend that Mary had a car accident in 2010 and her physical health slowly declined until she was no longer working at all in 2013. Mary should contact Social Security to find out her DLI so that she knows the exact date she needs to prove her disability by. Mary found out her DLI was 12/31/2015. Even though she applied for disability in September of 2016, she had to make sure that she proved her inability to work to on or before 12/31/2015.

The best way to get your DLI is to call your local office and ask (click here to get find out your local SSA office’s phone number). I usually recommend that individuals call and get their DLI and earnings record (sometimes called an ICERS report by SSA). The earnings record is a printout that shows what earnings were reported to SSA during your working life. When a person applies for disability or SSI that person should really check out their earnings record too. Social Security used to send them out every year. Now you can view a version of your earnings history online by going straight to Social Security’s website.

Without a DLI, you might be setting yourself up for an unnecesary denial of benefits.

Sometimes the local office will give callers a hard time about releasing this information. I am not sure why SSA occasionally takes this ridiculous position, but I usually advise people to simply say "OK" and call back a few minutes later, and ask for the DLI again. This usually results in a person providing the information needed. Imagine that - your government not wanting to disclose your information to you.

Thomas Golden

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Lowell, Michigan

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