Every time you work and pay taxes, you earn works credits. All these credits add up to make you eligible for disability.
Unfortunately, sometimes work credits expire! If you wait to long to apply for disability, yours may expire.
If this has happened to you, don’t worry. You may be able to qualify by proving you became disabled before your work credits expired.
🌸 You will need excellent medical records from the past. They will need to show you were definitely disabled, had a severe impairment, and could not function well at that time.
🌸 The records must be dated before your work credits expired, and they must be dated after you stopped earning SGA.
🌸 The date your work credits expired is called your Date Last Insured. If you don’t know when your Date Last Insured here’s how to find out your Date Last Insured.
🌸 I would strongly suggest that you to track down and get those records yourself and give them to Social Security. Your old records will be very important. You cannot rely on Social Security to get all your records, especially from many years ago. How to Collect All Your Medical Records (Keyword: All)
🌸 Once you have your records, it is great if you can look through them and see if you can find proof that you were disabled in the past. Try to look for a specific medical record or specific medical test that you believe clearly showed you were disabled at that time. It could be more than one document that was from a close time period.
🌸 Please do not just look for a time a doctor listed a diagnosis. This is unlikely to be enough to make a difference. Look for a specific description in your medical notes that discusses your limitations, also look for outcomes on medical tests.
🌸 If you find something like this, you can send Social Security a brief written note requesting that they consider this record when determining your the onset date of your disability. List the name and date of the record and attach a copy. You may have hundreds of pages of medical records, and if you do not point this particular record out to them, it could get overlooked. Call and make sure the person handling your case receives the note and places it in your file.
🌸 Be prepared to be plucky! It is unlikely a lawyer will help you out here, so you may have to do to apply on your own. Don’t worry, many people apply without a lawyer. Most people I have met who won their cases at the beginning did it themselves.
🌸 If you are still in touch with a doctor that you had before your Date Last Insured, there is one more thing you can do that might help. You can ask that doctor to write a letter for you that clearly states the date they believe you first became disabled. In the letter, the doctor should explain why they believe you became disabled at that time, and what observations they had or what medical tests they performed that helped them determine that date.
🌸 One person also arranged for their doctor to testify at their hearing. The doctor did this by phone. It was a brief phone call that did not impose on the doctor and only took 15 minutes. The doctor explained their medical opinion about when the person became disabled. It worked!
Going back in time is not your only option. Here are some more options for How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability