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What Does “Insured Status” Mean for Social Security Disability Eligibility?

Many people receive Social Security Disability denials because they were not insured at the time they become disabled.  In that case, they will receive a letter indicating that they are not eligible shortly after applying, and without any medical evidence being evaluated.  Typically, the reason for the loss of insured status is the failure to have earned at least 20 quarters of coverage during the last 10 years.  Currently, one quarter is earned if you have had reported earnings of at least $1300.  If you have not worked for several years prior to becoming disabled, this can cause a loss of insured status.

The determination as to insured status isn’t necessarily determined based on the date that you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.  For example, if your disability onset date was closer in time to when you stopped working, you could still be “insured” and potentially eligible for Social Security Disability benefits even if you have not worked for several years.  In order to be successful, however, there must be evidence to support that you were disabled as of your “onset date.

If you do not have insured status at the time you become disabled, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.  The amount you will receive is usually less than that received from Social Security Disability, and eligibility is subject to means testing.  To receive SSI, the applicant can have no more than $2000 in assets ($3000 if married).  Although the list of types of assets that are taken into account is extensive, some assets, such as one vehicle and the home, are not counted.  If you have questions about whether you are insured for Social Security Disability or if are denied benefits because you are not insured, you may want to consult with an experienced Social  Security Disability attorney.

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