Sometimes the language Social Security uses can be confusing. I am going to go through some of the terms and rules that can be confusing. I am only dealing with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is the benefit you will receive based on credits you have earned by working. Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) has its own rules, and is a need based program.
The term Date Last Insured (DLI) refers to the date at which you have to be found disabled in order to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Social Security figures out the DLI based on credits you have earned by working. You can earn 4 credits per year, or 1 credit per quarter. Social Security deems you eligible for SSDI if you earned 20 credits in 10 years. Put another way, you must work 5 out of the last 10 years. For example, if I worked from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2011, my DLI will be 5 years from the date I stopped working (December 31, 2016). This means if Social Security decides I am disabled at any time prior to my DLI (December 31, 2016), I will receive SSDI. If Social Security decides I am disabled January 1, 2017, or later, my DLI is past and my credits will have expired.
Alleged Onset Date (AOD) is another term that seems straightforward, but can be confusing. When you apply for Social Security, you need to tell them what date you consider yourself to be disabled. Usually the day after your last day of work becomes your AOD.
Another rule that is confusing is the 5 month waiting period to be eligible for SSDI payments. The rule is this: When found disabled, I need to be disabled for 5 full calendar months in order to collect SSDI payments. If I am found to be disabled on January 10, 2016, then I will not be eligible for payments until July 1, 2016.
I have gone over the problems that we get the most questions about, but it doesn’t even represent the tip of the iceberg, as far as Social Security’s rules. The process is usually long and very frustrating. It can take 2-3 years to get your claim before an Administrative Law Judge, which is where you have the best chance of an approval. This is why we recommend getting an attorney to help with the process. The attorney knows Social Security’s rules, and can help you understand them as well.