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The “Date Last Insured” is the last day you were insured for disability benefits. If you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability benefits, then you need to know that important date. The reason you need to know your “Date Last Insured” (DLI) is that the DLI may determine whether or not you can prove eligibility for disability benefits to the SSA.

With luck, you date last insured will be in the future. For most people, if they stopped working within one year or less of applying for disability benefits, they are still insured. The DLI typically becomes an issue when you wait many years to apply for benefits. For example, if you stop working in 2015 and wait to apply for benefits until 2021, then you probably have a DLI problem. In other words, your DLI has expired. Contact Cannon Disability for questions about your disability insurance status.


When the Social Security Administration refers to your Date Last Insured, they are referring to the last work quarter in which you met the disability insured status requirements. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must have enough work credits to qualify. In most cases, individuals will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they had worked five out of the past ten years before their disability begins. Regardless of your disabling condition, your date last insured is one of the first things Social Security looks at when evaluating your claim.

If an individual works for ten years, then they have worked forty quarters. There are four quarters for each year. In order for each quarter to qualify for insurance coverage, the person must earn a certain amount of money. For example, in 2021, you must earn $1470 in one quarter for that quarter to count for insurance coverage. Likewise, in 2022, you must earn $1510 in one quarter to have a quarter of coverage.

If an individual stops working on January 1st, they start losing quarters of coverage.  This is true even if they worked for the past 10 years. After one year of not working, the worker will have 36 quarters of coverage.  Each additional year of not working is another four quarters of lost coverage.  Typically, a full-time worker remains insured for up to five years after they stop working. After the fifth year of not working, that person is no longer insured for benefits. However, depending on your earnings, that period of insurance can be less than five years.

social security disability before the date last insured


The SSA calculates your date last insured based on how many quarters of coverage you earned over your working life. They also look at when you stopped working and your age. The method for calculating this date is termed the “20/40” test. The SSA will look at your earnings record and count back 20 covered quarters. Then, the SSA will count forward 40 quarters (both covered and uncovered). For a person who works full-time, the DLI is approximately five years after they stopped working.

The DLI only applies to the applications for Social Security Disability. It does not apply to applications for Supplemental Security Income benefits. If you are applying for SSI only, then you do not need to concern yourself over the date last insured. However, for applicants with concurrent claims, meaning both an SSDI and SSI claim, the DLI still applies.

The DLI doesn’t apply to SSI cases, because in SSI cases, the claimant has not worked long enough to have quarters of coverage through the disability program. SSI is a benefit that is usually given to children, who typically have no work history. SSI is also for adults who have no work history or have very little work history. This could be an adult who struggles with mental illness throughout their life. Or, it could be an adult with Down syndrome. It could also just be a person who has never worked. Additionally, SSI is available for those who have a work history, but whose earnings have been low.


Think of the DLI as similar to expiring car insurance. If you don’t pay your premium to the insurance company, what do they do? They cancel your car insurance policy. Therefore, if you get into an accident, they don’t have to pay for your car. The DLI is similar. When you stop working, you stop paying taxes. This is like not paying your car insurance premium. If you don’t pay your car insurance premium, you no longer have insurance. Similarly, because you are not paying taxes, your “insurance” with the SSA program will eventually expire. The day your insurance runs out is your DLI. Or, the date you were last insured for benefits.

But why does it matter? It matters because your disability must be disabling prior to your insurance running out. If you weren’t disabled, then the SSA doesn’t have to pay. Another way to look at it is this:  if your car insurance runs out and then you get into a car accident, the insurance company isn’t liable. The same is true with Social Security Disability insurance benefits. If you disability begins after your insurance runs out, then the SSA doesn’t have to pay you.

You must prove you have a disability that prevents you from working prior to the date your insurance expires. This applies to everyone who is eligible for SSDI benefits. If your insurance expires, then there is one thing to remember. If you go back to work and start earning wages at the substantial gainful activity level, then you can become insured again through the SSA program.


If you apply for SSD benefits after your DLI has expired, then you’ll need to prove that the onset of your disability was before your DLI. The medical evidence before your DLI impacts whether or not the Social Security Administration approves your disability.

Your DLI is an important consideration from the medical standpoint of your claim. Medically, you need to show you became disabled before your date last insured. You can still file a disability claim even after your DLI  expires. But, you will still need to prove your disability began prior to the DLI. Therefore, the most important thing in your SSD case is the medical evidence.

You cannot just submit any medical evidence to prove disability. The evidence prior to the DLI must show that your medical condition was disabling. So, just having progress notes from a doctor prior to the DLI will not do it. Instead, the medical evidence must discuss why you cannot work. Or, it must show that your residual functional capacity was so limited that you could not work at any job. Likewise, if your impairment is severe enough to meet or equal a listing, then the records prior to the DLI must demonstrate that. Also, please note that if you are blind, your onset date, date last insured, and even earnings for quarters of coverage may be different than those in this article. Please see other SSA information that applies to you if you are blind.

disability hearing for date last insured


If you got a denial in the mail and SSA says they did not find you disabled before a specific date, then chances are the DLI applies to you.  SSDI claims are often denied because the applicant became disabled after the expiration of their DLI. Sometimes, medical records will not contain enough evidence to show that the onset date of disability was prior to the DLI. Since most disabilities do not have a singular event that causes them, establishing an onset date can be hard to do. Your medical evidence must support your onset date. And, your onset date of disability must be prior to the DLI.

If you previously applied for SSD, your lawyer may be able to reopen your old claim for disability. Especially, if there is evidence of an earlier disability onset date. Also, if you simply cannot get disability benefits because of a date last insured problem, then you can apply for SSI benefits. SSI benefits are available for those with a disability who meet the SSI program’s income and asset limitations. You can apply for SSD and SSI benefits online at the Social Security’s website.


Even if you are no longer insured for disability benefits, you can still file a claim for disability benefits. However, you will have to prove your disability began prior to your DLI in order to be eligible for retroactive disability benefits. And, you will also have to prove that your disability is continuous and ongoing. For example, if a person applies for benefits in 2020 and their DLI was on December 31, 2017. Then, they must prove their disability began prior to the end of 2017. But, they must also prove that the disability continues to the present day.

The difficulty in proving this kind of a claim includes finding supporting medical evidence. Also, you must obtain statements from your current doctors that show your disability has been continuous.  Many times, hospitals and medical clinics destroy their medical records. Typically, this happens every 5 to 7 years. Remember, medical records are critical to prove your disability.  If the records no longer exist, there is no proof of the disability.

HIRE A disability ATTORNEY to help with the date last insured


We will use our skills to help you figure out if you have a date last insured issue in your case. Also, if you do have a DLI issue, we will try to solve that problem. We want to win your disability benefits. But, it also our goal to make the process easier for you. Therefore, we offer a free consultation. Even if we don’t accept representation in your case, we will still try to help you when you contact us.

Hiring us doesn’t cost you any upfront money. Why? Because we don’t charge you money to become our client. Instead, you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, the fee is capped at $6000. And, 25% is usually less than the $6000 cap. You will pay the lesser amount.

If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. But the costs in most cases are usually less than $100. You must also pay to obtain a copy of your medical records. The cost of your medical records is whatever your doctor charges for them. You owe costs whether we win or lose your case. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to also pay a fee upfront. Not with a contingency fee. You only pay an attorney fee to us when we win your SSD and SSI case.


Cannon Disability Law is one of the best disability firms in the country. ]Also, we are listed as one of the best Social Security Disability firms in Las Vegas, Nevada. The representatives at Cannon Disability Law are also members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives. Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada Disability Information can also be found on this website. If you are from California, California disability information can also be found on our website. However, we can represent you no matter where you live.

There are many technical issues with the law, like the date last insured, that apply to disability claims. You need a lawyer who understands those issues. You also need a representative who knows the law. We would like to be your disability legal team. Hire us for our experience. Over the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 disability claims.

Additionally, during our time in business, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past-due SSD disability benefits for our clients. Don’t file your claim without help. If you need help with SSA’s forms, ask us. Also, do not go to your hearing without a representative with the experience to win your case. Those who go to the hearing without representation are typically not successful in winning benefits. You should hire an attorney with experience in disability law. Contact Cannon Disability Law today. We can help you with your disability case.

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