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The date last insured is one of the most overlooked components of a social security disability application.  It is the last date that you are eligible to be covered for disability.  You are usually eligible for coverage for five years after you quit working.  It could be a little earlier if you worked sporadically for awhile there at the end.

Insured Status

In order to determine your date last insured, you have to determine your insured status.  There are two types of insured status – fully insured and disability insured.  You have to meet the requirements of both of these in order to be eligible for disability benefits. 

To be fully insured, you have to have ten years of credited work.  That’s credit for work of at least one quarter during ten different years.  You can also qualify if you have one credit of work for each year between age 21 and the time you become disabled.   Disability insured looks at your recent employment.  You have to have worked 5 out of the last 10 years. 

Credited Quarters

There are 4 credits (quarters) of work in each year.  An earnings record from the SSA shows how many quarters you have worked in any given year.  You get a quarter of credit for every quarter that you are paid FICA-taxed earnings of the threshold amount.  In 2019, your quarterly earnings had to be at least $1,360.  In 2020, that number is $1,410.

Date Last Insured

Why is the date last insured so important?  In order to get disability benefits, you have to have become disabled before your date last insured.  So, to determine your date last insured, you look at your earnings record.  Count back 20 credited quarters.  Then go back one more.  Now, jump 10 years, not quarters, into the future and the last day of that quarter is your date last insured.  You have to prove that you were disabled prior to that date to be eligible for social security disability benefits.