What does insured status mean? What does date last insured (DLI) mean?
Insured status is obtained by earning sufficient quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act through payment of FICA taxes, which are typically deducted from one’s paycheck (6.2%) or are paid directly if self-employed (12.4%).
The most important thing to know about insured status is that for purposes of disability insurance benefits, insured status expires. Once you leave the workforce and stop contributing FICA taxes, your insured status for disability insurance benefits will expire at some point in time; the longest your insured status will extend beyond your departure from the work force is five (5) years. The expiration of your insured status is referred to by SSA as your date last insured or DLI. Applying for benefits or proving you are disabled after your DLI is possible but it creates significant procedural and evidentiary hurdles that make success less likely.