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How Does My “Date Last Insured” Affect My Right to Disability Benefits?

 Posted on September 12, 2017 in Already Applied for Disability Benefits

Chicago disability benefits lawyer, Social Security Disability insurance, disability claim, Illinois disability cases, disabling symptomsContrary to what many people may think, Social Security Disability Insurance is not a welfare program for people “too lazy to work.” It is, as the name implies, a form of insurance. All workers pay into Social Security through FICA taxes, which are withheld from your paycheck. These taxes serve as the “premiums” for disability insurance.

Because of this, there are many people who are disabled but not eligible for SSDI benefits because too much time has elapsed between the end of their last job and the medical onset of their disability. One of the first things Social Security does when assessing an application of disability benefits is to look at the applicant's “date last insured” (DLI).

In most situations, the DLI is five years from the date the applicant stopped working. So, let us say you last worked on September 1, 2012. That would make your DLI September 1, 2017. If you later applied for disability benefits, you would therefore need to prove that your disability existed on or before September 1, 2017.

Insufficient Evidence to Support Ex-Construction Worker's Disability Claim

Here is an illustration of how DLI can affect a disability claim. This is from a recent decision by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals here in Chicago, which has appellate jurisdiction over disability cases from Illinois. In this case, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied the plaintiff's application for disability benefits.

The plaintiff used to work in a meat-processing factory. Following multiple shoulder and back surgeries, however, he left his factory position and worked in the construction industry for several years. Eventually, his shoulder and back impairments left him unable to work. He sought disability benefits in 2012, alleging an onset date of January 1, 2011.

The SSA determined the plaintiff's DLI was September 30, 2011, which was after the alleged onset date. Yet the SSA still denied the plaintiff's application, finding that “the limited evidence available before the date last insured does not substantially support” his alleged “disabling symptoms.” Even though the plaintiff did produce additional medical evidence to support his case, the SSA said that information only addressed his worsening symptoms “well after his date last insured.”

The Seventh Circuit agreed, noting that whether or not the plaintiff is currently disabled bears no relevance on his case. The legal question is whether or not he was disabled before his DLI. And the appeals court said the plaintiff's pre-DLI medical records were insufficient to support his claim that he was “totally disabled” on his alleged onset date.

Need Help With Your Chicago Disability Case?

Understanding the applicable deadlines for disability insurance and having complete medical records are just two issues that you will face when dealing with Social Security. An experienced Chicago disability benefits lawyer can guide you through the process and fight to ensure the agency (and the courts) respect your rights. Contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC, if you need to speak with an attorney today.



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