Hi. My name is Charles Wilmer. I’m an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona with the Wilmer Law Firm. Today I want to talk a little bit about a social security topic, the date of last insured. This is important for people who have filed for social security or disability because you need to establish that your disability began on or before your date last insured. We’re going to talk a little bit about what the date last insured is, how it’s established, and what problems might arise in your social security disability claim.
Initially when a person is working and paying taxes into the social security system, they eventually reach a point that’s called fully insured status. You work, you pay in over the years, and over your work period you will come to a point where, let’s say you start work there, and you’ve been working for a number of years. So you have the date of post insured status. What this means is you are now eligible for social security disability benefits if you meet the disability requirements. As long as you continue to work and pay into the system you’ll maintain that insured status.
If at some point you stop working, then the insured status begins to run out. Sort of like having paid for an insurance policy, and if you stop paying the premiums eventually will run out. Typically that’s approximately five years after the date last worked. If this individual stops work at this point then after five years, approximately, they will reach the point of date last insured.
In order to qualify for the benefits, in addition to meeting the disability requirements, they would also have to show that the disability began on or before this date. If the disability starts after the date last insured, they would not be eligible for the disability benefits. The only benefits you would be entitled to at that point will be supplemental security income, which is a need-based program. In order to get that, you have to have no money or assets. Typically that can lead to people having to go into bankruptcy or becoming destitute. We’re always looking to try to establish somebody’s disability under the social security disability regulations, and the date last insured.
For instance, sometimes you’ll have a situation, let’s say a parent has left the workforce to stay home and take care of their children. They’re not earning any income, and so even though they’re not disabled when they stop working they’re going along, their disability status is beginning to run out. Let’s say that after the date last insured the individual, the stay at home parent becomes sick or gets hurt in an accident, and would meet the physical and other requirements for disability. Unfortunately they would be outside the date last insured period and they would not qualify for that. Therefore people need to take that into consideration when they are thinking about leaving the workforce to do other things, perhaps stay home with children or whatever they decide to do.
We’ll run into the situation also where people may not have paid self-employment taxes. These are for a proper reason or improper reason. Or sometimes employers haven’t paid those taxes and were off the record. It’s important to check with social security and make sure that your benefits and your taxes are being correctly recorded because you only have a limited period of time to go back and correct the record.
Sometimes I’ll get a client and it’s been many, many years since their date last insured, but it’s important to really sit down and talk with that person because there may be situations where I can still establish the disability began before the date last insured. I had one situation where we went back approximately 20 years and looked at this gentleman’s records, his medical records from when he was in the military, because that’s when the disability began. He actually went out on disability through the military early retirement, didn’t think much of it, and than later on he thought he was losing out on these benefits. He went to a number of other firms in town, and they all turned him down. He came to my office. We sat down, I went through everything with him very carefully, was able to determine that there was a chance we could probably that the disability began back in the 80’s, when he was still working and still insured. In fact, we were able to do that, we convinced the social security judge, and he ultimately wound up getting benefits even though he’d be turned down by multiple firms before coming here.
If you have a situation where you’re facing a day last insured problem be sure you contact an attorney who practices in the area of social security disability. I invite you to come to my office if you would like. Set up an appointment, we’ll get you in here, sit down and talk about your case, see what we can do to help you out with that.