Natalia Jofre: Hi, I’m Natalia Jofre. I’m the social security section director here at Hill & Ponton.
Shelly Mark: I’m Shelly Mark. I’m senior social security attorney.
Natalia Jofre: Welcome back to our disability blog. Our last segment, we were talking about date last insured, what it is, once it’s expired, and we promised that we would talk about what kind of evidence you need in order to prove your case and, most especially, prior to your date last insured. The difference is, in a nutshell, and then I’ll let Shelly expand, in general, in order to prove your case you need to present evidence, which basically shows why you’re disabled, and because you’re asking for ongoing benefits, why you’re disabled now. With date last insured cases, it’s a little bit more difficult and it’s a little bit trickier because you’re trying to prove that you were disabled prior to that expiration date, prior to that date last insured. Sometimes you’re dealing with evidence that’s much older. You gave the example of the veteran and you were trying to prove that he was disabled prior to 2009?
Shelly Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Natalia Jofre: Okay. What kind of evidence did you have to use?
Shelly Mark: Well, in that case, we definitely use the VA Rating Decision that found him to be unemployable and rated at 100 percent in 2007. Just so everyone knows, that’s a specific finding by the VA, you know, social security doesn’t have to accept that as their own finding, but it’s still definitely favorable evidence. One other thing we found in his case when we looked back and looked was a report from vocational rehabilitation and the counselor had done a very thorough evaluation and concluded that he would not be able to be retrained or employed at that time. We use that and then, of course, we use all of the medical records that we could find during that time period.
Natalia Jofre: Veteran’s specifically have very strong date last insured cases because, for the most part, they tend to have ongoing medical treatment and every time you go to the VA clinic or any kind of VA medical facility, they keep a record of that and so it shows that you had ongoing medical treatment, it shows what your diagnoses were at that time, whether you were compliant with your treatment. It’s very good, you know, as bureaucratic as some of these federal agencies sometimes are, it’s the one time that it’s in your favor because they tend to keep track of everything.
Shelly Mark: Everything.
Natalia Jofre: Everything you had done, every time you said, “Ah,” who checked your mouth, what day, and what time, and what they prescribed, and all of that.
Shelly Mark: Another piece that, especially that we’re kind of talking about veterans now is, if your discharge was around the same time period, anything related to your discharge, whether it’s a medical retirement or just in service records themselves that talk about the difficulties that you were having, that’s likely, well, that is going to be prior to your DLI because you were still working. You can use your active service records as well.
Natalia Jofre: That’s great. Not just for veterans because you know that date last insured can apply to disabled persons in general. One of the big differences and people will ask us about this, is current evidence.
Shelly Mark: Right.
Natalia Jofre: Let’s say you had no evidence prior to your date last insured, you’re probably not going to qualify because how do you prove your case, okay?
Shelly Mark: Yeah.
Natalia Jofre: But, what we do see is that a lot of judges will want current medical evidence, simply because they want you to show, even though they’re not supposed to technically consider it, they’re only supposed to consider the old stuff to make sure you should be approved prior to your expiration date, but they want the current evidence to make sure you’re ongoing.
Shelly Mark: To make sure that there’s been a lot of medical improvement or that the condition somehow improved to a point where you could go back to work. They do usually like for the file to be up to date regardless.
Natalia Jofre: Yeah. Okay, great. Well, next segment we’ll talk about, because have referenced veterans a lot, we have some veteran specific information we want to share so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, visit our website or call our office.
Shelly Mark: Thank you.