Good morning, and Happy New Year.
It could, yes, if a zero year of earning is then NOT counted in the calculation of your benefit amount. Don't ask me what the formula is - I am not a bean counter, but the links noted below may help you. But as I understand it, the more years you can get counted as officially disabled that were low or zero income years, the better, because otherwise they can seriously bring down that "average lifetime monthly income" amount, upon which our benefit is based. If you can access these links, they may be helpful to you.
As you mentioned above you must be found disabled before your date last insured. If you are found disabled disability insurance payments can start 12 months prior to your application date. SSI payments do not begin until the month after you applied. If you have not already been approved I encourage you to contact a lawyer. I have seen cases where claimants meet listings and are still denied. Best of luck to you!
You're really asking about your AIME. Here's a primer.
You appear to be well educated on your disability, but you clearly refuse to get an attorney. I strongly encourage you to reconsider. It's more likely than not that you're going to get yourself educated on the Internet just enough to convince yourself you know what you're doing. Then you may lose your case because you didn't know how to properly cross examine the vocational expert, or were not aware of how the ALJ would evaluate your medical records.
Regardless, I wish you the best of luck in your case.
I agree with fellow Georgia lawyer's previous post here that you should seek legal counsel if you have not done so already. You've clearly done significant research on the issues in your claim, and while benefits are generally not paid more than 12 months prior to your application dare, anytime I have a client whose DLI has passed prior to application, I anticipate that their claim will be significantly more difficult and that the risk of an adverse decision could ultimately bar them from filing a subsequent application. For these reasons, and given the complexity and specificity of your question, I'd recommend you contact any of the experienced disability lawyers here who have answered your post and seek their assistance before you proceed further.
Timothy M. Klob
Klob Law Firm
Provision of information in response to this question does not create an attorney-client relationship and the questioner is encouraged to seek and retain legal counsel in order to discuss their question(s) further and directly with legal counsel. Respondent is licensed to practice law in Georgia before all Georgia courts for non-Federal matters with a primary focus on personal injury and workers' compensation. Respondent is also authorized by the Social Security Administration to represent claimants nationwide in Social Security Disability claims, and is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern Districts of Georgia and Texas, respectively, for federal matters including judicial review of Social Security matters. The questioner is advised that some responses on this site are provided by attorneys who are not licensed in the respective jurisdiction of the questioner, and any advice from attorneys on this site concerning state-specific areas such as workers' compensation by attorneys who are not licensed in the applicable and appropriate jurisdiction should be viewed as for general educational purposes and should generally be given lesser weight than responses by attorneys licensed in the governing jurisdiction. Response to this question further assumes that the questioner is not currently represented by counsel, and if this is not the case, then it is recommended that any further questions or concerns be directed to their current legal counsel.