Date Last Insured

Massachusetts Lawyers Counseling Applicants for Social Security

When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), one component of eligibility requires an applicant to show that he or she has worked a sufficient number of years and has paid Social Security taxes during those years. When an individual stops working due to disability and is no longer paying Social Security taxes, there comes a point at which the applicant is no longer eligible to apply for SSDI because it has been too long since Social Security taxes were last paid. This is known as the date last insured calculation, and after it has expired, an applicant is no longer eligible for SSDI. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security attorneys knowledgeably advise Massachusetts residents on calculating the date last insured and preparing benefits applications before the time period has expired.

Understanding the Date Last Insured

In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must pass the recent work test. Under the recent work test, an applicant must have worked at least five of the last 10 years before he or she applies for benefits. While this work need not occur all in one span, or all within the five most recent years, an applicant must have at least five years of accumulated work experience to be eligible for benefits. For practical purposes, this means that after an applicant has gone more than five years without working, he or she can no longer meet the recent work test, since it would be impossible to have five or more years of work experience within the last 10 years. Thus, after five years without work, an individual is “cut off” from eligibility to receive SSDI.

In the Social Security Administration’s terms, this “cut-off” is known as the date last insured. The date last insured is a date five years after an applicant stopped working due to disability or other circumstances. Thus, for example, if you were injured on the job and stopped working three years ago, your date last insured would be two years from now. If you last worked six years ago, your date last insured would already have passed, and you probably would not be eligible to apply for SSDI. Thus, it is extremely important that applicants seek benefits as soon as possible after they become unable to work.

Exceptions to the Date Last Insured Expiration

While an applicant is generally ineligible for SSDI benefits after the date last insured has passed, there are two important exceptions to this eligibility requirement. First, if an applicant can provide extensive medical evidence to establish that his or her disability began prior to the date last insured, he or she may still be eligible for benefits. Second, if an applicant sought and obtained a protective filing date before the expiration of the date last insured, this will also protect an applicant’s eligibility for SSDI.

Pursuing Government Benefits with the Assistance of a Massachusetts Attorney

Nobody facing a serious medical issue wants to learn that he or she is ineligible for SSDI simply because he or she did not file a timely application for benefits after leaving the last position of employment. In order to avoid such complications, it is important to pay close attention to the SSA’s application guidelines, requirements, and deadlines. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our government benefits lawyers can assist individuals throughout Massachusetts with asserting their SSDI eligibility, as well as with following all applicable requirements and timelines. Based in Boston, we advise individuals in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, and Plymouth Counties, as well as in Providence and other Rhode Island cities. Contact our office for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online.