How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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.

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.