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Date Last Insured for Disability Benefits

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2017 | Social Security Disability (SSD)

If you cannot continue to work because of an injury or serious illness, there is a chance you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Before you apply for benefits, it is important that you know the date you are last insured, or DLI, for Social Security. If you are not familiar with DLI, the information below will help give you a basic understanding of it.

What is DLI?

The Date Last Insured, or DLI, is the last date that you are eligible to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). The day of your DLI is dependant on how long it has been since you last worked. You must pass a “recent work” test before you can receive your SSD benefits. So, you must have worked at least five of the past 10 years if you are over the age of 30. Those under 30 have slightly different qualifications since their work history is not as extensive.

The Look Back Period

Most often, the SSA will review the past 10 years from the date an applicant files a claim to determine a DLI. Those 10 years are known as the “look back period”. You should note that the date your disability causes you to stop working is not relevant in determining your DLI. Instead, it is that 10-year period that is the determining factor.

Date Last Insured

The most important date in determining your DLI is the date you stopped working at a job that pays into Social Security through FICA taxes. If you worked at a job of this nature five years ago, your DLI would be immediate. If it was six years ago, your DLI would have started one year ago. However, if you stopped working at such a job only four years ago, you would have to wait another year for it to kick in. If the day of your DLI has past, you will no longer be eligible to receive SSD benefits. You can compare DLI to having car insurance and getting into an automobile accident. If you get into an accident after the insurance has expired, you will not be covered.

Applying for SSD after your DLI

If you apply for SSD after your DLI has past, you must be able to show that your disability happened prior to your DLI. However, if you have received a “protective filing date”, you are excepted from this rule. It can be difficult to establish a disability onset date, as there is often not just one incident to cause it. However, you will need to provide as much information as possible to establish and support a particular date. If your onset date falls before your DLI, you will still need to fulfill the recent work requirements set by the SSA.


If your income and assets level is low enough, you may qualify for SSI benefits. If you choose this route, DLI does not apply to SSI.

If you have more questions about DLI and applying for disability benefits, contact the law office of Daniel Berger today.