How To Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 & 66

If you have been rendered unable to work by a medical condition, you may be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Disability benefits help you sustain your livelihood if you cannot work any longer due to a disabling injury or illness.

Sometimes, older individuals in the age group of over 60 years may suddenly face medical issues due to which they have to stop working. However, they may not yet be entitled to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits or they may not want to apply for retirement benefits before reaching the full retirement age. In such cases, the concerned individual may want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. An individual cannot apply for disability and retirement benefits at the same time. However, there is no restriction in applying for disability benefits.

Disability Benefits

Depending upon your prior work history and earnings record, you may be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Both programs are based on different criteria and eligibility requirements. Regardless of your age, you can apply for any of these two SSD benefits programs administered by the Social Security Administration.

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits

The taxes you paid on the income earned at jobs and through self-employment contribute to your eligibility to receive benefits under the SSDI program.

SSDI is a federal insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Established in the year 1954, the SSDI seeks to provide individuals with a source of income if they become unable to work due to a disability. You can start receiving SSDI benefits if you are unable to work because of a medically determinable physical and/ or mental impairment(s) expected to last for 12 or more months or result in death. Additionally, you must have sufficient work credits to be eligible to start receiving disability benefits.

For receiving SSDI benefits, you will have to satisfy the Social Security Administration that you are disabled. As such, the following conditions must be satisfied.

  • You are unable to engage in substantial, gainful activity due to the physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death or has lasted or is expected to last, for at least one year.
  • You are unable to handle the requirements of the job that you were able to handle before becoming disabled.
  • You are unable to adjust to other types of work because of your physical or psychological condition.
  • is a consequence of physical or psychological impairment that can be determined by medically acceptable, laboratory or clinical, diagnostic techniques.

The amount you receive in SSDI benefits depends to a large extent on your earnings record. It is calculated based on your earnings during your working years. The more money you earned and paid into the system as Social Security taxes, the more you end up receiving SSDI benefits.

Supplemental Security Income

Unlike the SSDI, SSI is not an insurance program. It is a needs-based that offers monthly benefit payments to disabled persons, blind adults, adults aged 65 or above and children. Therefore, even if you don’t have a prior work history or earnings record, you could still qualify for SSI benefits. However, you must meet the strict federal regulations relating to income and resource limits on applicants along with medical conditions that must be met to qualify for SSI monthly payment benefits.

You will be considered eligible for SSI benefits by the SSA if you meet the following conditions-

  • You have little to no household income or other resources. In 2022, an individual must possess less than $861 per month in unearned income to be eligible for receiving SSI benefits. On the other hand, a couple can get SSI benefits if it has unearned income of less than $1,281 a month.
  • You cannot have resources worth over $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple. Resources include something capable of being converted into cash such as stocks and real estate.
  • You suffer from a disability that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
  • You must be incapable of doing the work that you were performing before getting disabled or any other work on a regular basis.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States or meet one of the exceptions to the citizenship requirement for availing SSI benefits.

How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62

You must apply for SSD benefits as soon as you develop a disability that qualifies you for receiving disability benefits. You can apply either in the online mode or the offline mode. For applying in online mode, you must follow a few easy steps-

  • Navigate to the Apply for Benefits page on the SSA website. Agree to the Terms of Service that follow and click “Next.”
  • Review the “Getting Ready” section and ensure that you have everything needed to apply for benefits.
  • Choose “Start A New Application.”
  • Ask the questions mentioned in the Application.
  • Create your personal Social Security account and sign in.
  • Complete the Application process.

You can file for SSI benefits at the same time as you file for SSDI benefits. On completing the online application process, a Social Security representative will contact you.

How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62

You can also apply in the offline mode if you are not comfortable in applying over the internet. As such, you have the following options-

Applying With Your Local Office

If you are not comfortable with the online service, you can find the phone number for your local Social Security Office by using the Office Locator on SSA website. The toll-free “Office” number is your local office. It will assist you with your application for SSD benefits.

Applying By Phone

You can call at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) at any time between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Mailing Your Documents  

You can mail any documents to Social Security. You must include your Social Security number in the mail but avoid writing anything in the original documents. You can mention the Social Security number on a sheet of paper and attach it to the mailing envelope along with the documents.

How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 66

The application process is the same for applicants of all ages. However, if you are 65 or older, that is, you are 66, then you do not have the option of filing an online application. In such a situation, you can apply either over the phone or through your local Social Security Office.

Eligibility For Benefits

Social Security uses the work credits system to determine eligibility for receiving SSDI benefits. If you are aged 62 when applying for SSDI benefits, you must have a minimum of 40 credits. The Social Security credits are based on the amount of your earnings. As of 2022, an individual receives one credit per $1,510 of earnings, subject to a maximum of four credits for every work year. As average earnings go up, the amount of earnings needed for earning credits too goes up slightly. Therefore, if a claimant aged 62 wants to apply for SSD benefits, there must be a minimum of 10 full years of work.

Winning SSDI benefits at an older age becomes slightly easier as Social Security does consider your age during the application process. Someone aged 62 or above might find it easier to apply for benefits due to reduced work expectations. As for SSI benefits, all that needs to be proved is the disability in question, and limited resources and income to fulfill the eligibility for receiving them.

If you are aged 66 and you are unable to work due to a disability, you have an option to apply either for Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI benefits. It is however advisable to apply for SSDI benefits as early retirement results in reducing your retirement benefits than what they would have been if you had waited till your full retirement age. On the other hand, while applying for SSI, all you need to prove is the financial requirements to be eligible for receiving the benefits. Since age of 65 or above is itself a ground to apply for SSI benefits, there is no need to prove your disability separately.

Contact an experienced SSD lawyer today

Applying for SSD benefits by yourself can be a tricky task. It is advisable to contact an experienced SSD lawyer who has knowledge of rules relating to Social Security Disability. Clauson Law boasts of a capable team of disability advocates and lawyers who are out there to get you the disability benefits that you are entitled to receive. We are not just a law firm, and we want to do everything possible to help you with your disability. Contact us today to talk to an experienced disability lawyer about your claim and start fighting for the benefits you deserve.

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Clauson Law has focused on representing the injured and disabled for over 10 years. We have handled thousands of cases. Each client is important to us and has a unique situation.

1 Comment

    Thanks for the post. It will really helpful for many people who are looking for SSDI benefits. They will know everything from this post.

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