The "date last insured" is an important date for the Social Security Disability Insurance because it determines when you must prove the onset of your disability in order to receive disability insurance benefits.
An individual becomes "insured" through withholdings from their wages or earnings over a period of time. If you worked the minimum required amount of time during a quarter of a year, you have obtained a quarter of coverage. Depending upon your age, after you have earned so many quarters of coverage, you are considered to be "insured" for disability.
Another way of looking at this is to view the withholdings from wages and earnings as an insurance premium paid to an insurance company. If you have paid in for so many quarters, your insured for your disability.
However, once you stopped working, you stop earning quarters of coverage. After certain point in time, you are no longer insured for disability. In order for you to obtain disability insurance benefits, you must show that your disability began prior to the date you were last insured.
We see all different kinds of scenarios with the date last insured. Some of our clients have not been insured for three or four years, sometimes longer. In those cases, we must show that the disability began three or four years ago, or prior to the date they were last insured. This often involves searching for and obtaining old medical evidence, or consulting with doctors or other health care providers.
Other clients are insured out into the future, and when we go to hearing, our client will receive disability insurance benefits if we are able to establish an onset of disability beginning any time up until the date of the Administrative Law Judge's Decision.
If your "date last insured" is an issue in your case, call us with your questions at 503-325-8600. We handle these issues every day.