I often ask clients if they are insured for Social Security Disability and quickly realize they have no idea what I mean.
Eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits is based on your taxable earnings and the payroll taxes you have paid into the system (Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI).
(Supplemental Security Income or SSI) does not require earnings and is based on poverty.
SSDI is like a mandatory long term disability insurance policy managed by the government. To receive either SSDI or SSI benefits you must be disabled, but it is important to know your date last insured because to receive SSDI benefits you must prove an onset of disability before the expiration of your date last insured.
For example, if your date last insured is 12/31/15 you must prove an onset of disability before 1/1/16.
If you prove an onset after your date expires you can still get SSI if you meet the poverty requirements, but usually SSDI is better.
Generally an individual with a pending claim who has worked and paid payroll taxes for five of the last ten years remains insured and is eligible for SSDI benefits. Usually, SSDI benefits are preferred to SSI benefits because other assets you may own don’t reduce your benefits. The richest person in Arkansas could get SSDI.
At long last, here’s the point. Do not wait to file your claim. The day you can no longer work, file your claim. Not waiting reduces the risk of your date last insured expiring before you prove an onset of disability.