Natalia Jofre: Hi, I’m Natalia Jofre. I’m the Social Security section direction here at Hill and Ponton.
Shelly Mark: I’m Shelly Mark. I’m the senior Social Security attorney.
Natalia Jofre: So, we’ve been talking about date last insured, what it is, and the last one we talked about how it affects veteran’s sometimes specifically, but we want to keep talking about general topics because obviously many people that are disabled can still qualify for benefits even though they have a date last insured or it’s expired. One of the things we wanted to talk about is what do you do if your date last insured is expired and we’ll just do a quick recap that is basically like an expiration date. You have to prove that you’re disabled prior to your date last insured in order to qualify for regular social security disability benefits. But we also talked about you need to have sufficient evidence to prove prior to that date. So, what happens if you don’t have sufficient evidence and you can’t qualify for regular disability benefits?
Shelly Mark: I know we see this and it does happen to a lot of people where they just may stop working for different reasons that’s not their medical conditions and during that time period that they’ve stopped working they become very sick or they’re in an accident or they’re in this situation. What they can do is they can file a claim for SSI, supplemental security income. That is kind of the sister program to disability. It has the same requirements that a person has to be unable to work due to their medical conditions, but it is not tied to their earnings record.
Natalia Jofre: So, it’s income based.
Shelly Mark: That’s exactly right.
Natalia Jofre: One example I’d like to give because I used to see this apply a lot would be someone that regularly worked, paid into social security and then, for example, became a stay at home mom. So, had two or three kids, stayed home, took care of the kids. By the time the littlest one was old enough to go into kindergarten, they’ve been out of the workforce 10 years. Now, they haven’t worked and paid enough into social security tax recently and now something tragic happens where they get cancer or they have a car accident or something like that. So, people sometimes think, “Oh, well to get SSI, you’ve never worked, you’ve never paid. You’ve been lazy. You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that.” There are some negative connotations people like to attach to it. The truth of the matter is a lot of people that have had very decent lives, that have actually worked and paid into social security tax, but maybe just didn’t so recently will have date last insured problems.
Natalia Jofre: That’s why SSI is there so that they can still have an income despite not being able to qualify for regular disability.
Shelly Mark: There’s a medical insurance definitely plays in as well. Because you can have medical conditions prior to your DLI, but if you don’t have an insurance or any treatment records or there’s not any of that evidence that we talked about to prove it prior to then, then you had no choice but to file an SSI claim if that’s when you are able to obtain those records.
Natalia Jofre: Right. Right. So, there is an alternative if you don’t qualify for regular disability benefits either currently or because of an expired DLI. I just want to say speaking to that same example in terms of household income. So, the higher the income is, the less likely it is that you’ll either qualify for SSI or you’ll get a lesser amount. However, what increases the household income allowed is dependents.
Shelly Mark: Right.
Natalia Jofre: The larger the family, the larger the allowance. So, never sell yourself short. If you’re not sure whether you could qualify for benefits, we always encourage you to file.
Shelly Mark: Right.
Natalia Jofre: Okay. Worse case scenario is that they’re going to deny you. If they deny you, technically then you know I do have too much income to qualify for benefits. If they deny you medically, then all that means is they don’t believe that you’re disabled. You can appeal that. Along those same lines, I want to just say that if you qualify for even $1 for SSI, you qualify for Medicaid. That is an invaluable benefit because then that gives you health insurance. That means that then you can afford medical treatment. So it can be a very life-changing benefit.
Shelly Mark: Definitely.
Natalia Jofre: Yeah. All right. Well, next segment, we’ll talk a little bit more about DLI and how it affects other things. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to visit our website or call our office.
Shelly Mark: Thank you.