I have enough work credits for disability but not in the immediate last ten years. Am I out of luck?

I am a 48yr old male with a severe bipolar disorder that has negatively affected my ability to work most of my adult life. Outside of a three month temp gig in 2011, I have not been able to hold down a job since 2005. I have been living off savings and kindness since then, but money's getting too tight to mention.

My psychiatrist has recommended that I apply for SSDI. He has been seeing me since 2004, and he assures me that I most certainly qualify on medical grounds.

However, according to my SS Earnings Record, while I have the 27 work credits, 20 of them do not fall in the last 10 years.

Am I out of luck? If we go back to when I was last able to work and count back from there, I do meet the 20-credits-in-10-years criterion.

Just hoping there's a way around this obstacle. Thanks,

Everyone who files for disability has something called a DLI, or date last insured. This is exactly what it implies: it is the date you were last insured for title II Social Security Disability benefits. To win your claim for disability, you and/or your the disability representative working on your case (who can be an attorney or a non-attorney) would need to prove, via the documentation provided by your medical records, that you became disabled prior to the expiration of your date last insured, meaning before your DLI.

If you are not represented by someone on your case, I am not sure you will ever come across the term DLI or the issues it presents. Which points out why representation can be very beneficial. However, whoever represents your case should be well aware of what do when you have a past DLI (for example, if you had just recently stopped working, you would likely have a future DLI, meaning a future expiration date for your insured status for Social Security Disability benefits). Examining your medical records, as with all claims, will be crucial. However, your older records (those that exist before the expiration of your DLI) will be just as important as your recent records which may establish that you currently meet the SSA definition of disability.

If you have never applied for disability, you may be able to take it back to 2005 and apply for Social Security Disability and SSI disability simultaneously. Insured status generally lasts about five years after you last worked.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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