Your Date of Last Insured (DLI) can be as important to your case as your medical evidence proving you are too disabled to work. In fact, getting your DLI wrong, could mean the difference in being found disabled and not being able to qualify for disability benefits for years down the road.
If you have worked consistently up until you became disabled and immediately filed for benefits, then a DLI should not concern you. As you worked, you paid into the disability system and continued to earn work credits. If you then stopped working and immediately filed, then you are ok.
Where DLI becomes so important is when a person either has a sketchy work history or he or she has stopped working for years before deciding to file for benefits.
Understand this, as you work you pay into the disability system. As you pay, through taxes, you earn work credits for disability and retirement. But, if you stop working, eventually those credits for disability expire. And, when they do, that will only leave you with a few options: (1) you could prove your disabling condition began before those work credits expired, or (2) have to settle solely for SSI.
The other issue is that if you choose your onset date incorrectly, and it is past your DLI, and the Social Security Administration denies the claim due to no work credits, then you cannot go back and fix this error (not very easily). So, that is why it is so important to know your DLI and file correctly the first time.
Many people avoid hiring a disability attorney the first time they file for benefits. However, sometimes this level of expertise may just come in handy. I'm not trying to tell you to hire an attorney...but you just may want to think about it.
We represent claimants through Texas and Oklahoma fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. Please always feel free to call our office at: (888) 780-9125.