If you’re over 60 years of age and suffering from a disability, you may be trying to eke out a living despite your condition while you wait to reach your minimum retirement age for Social Security.
Instead, you should consider filing for Social Security Disability benefits. Here’s why:
1. The disability benefit is larger than your early retirement benefit
The retirement benefit you can receive if you file at your minimum retirement age will be reduced for every month that you are under the full retirement age (which is anywhere from age 66 to 67 for those currently approaching retirement). At age 62, given the way that Social Security calculates the reduction imposed on “early filers,” you will only receive approximately 70% of your primary insurance amount — which is what you’d receive if you were at full retirement age.
Disability beneficiaries, however, receive the full primary insurance amount, regardless of their age when they file. That means that if you file for disability benefits and are approved, you would endure no financial penalty for early filing.
2. The process of approval for disability is easier when you’re older.
You probably know that obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits isn’t easy — but you may not realize that the government’s rules for what is considered “disabled” lighten up as you age.
Starting at age 50, Social Security’s Medical-Vocational Guidelines relax. The requirements for proving disability become easier. It gets easier still once you reach age 55 and again at age 60. Roughly, once you turn 50, you can still be approved for SSDI benefits even if you are capable of doing some light-duty work. The more physically demanding your previous occupations, the easier it is for you to get approved. The requirements for younger people (anyone under 50 years of age) are much stiffer.
If you’re trying desperately to hold on until your minimum retirement age despite significant medical problems and limitations, take the time to talk to an experienced legal representative who understands how SSD works.