If you are over 65 and no longer able to work full-time (i.e., are disabled), you might be wondering whether you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) or whether you should just go ahead and apply for your Social Security retirement benefits.
In today’s post we’ll give you some things to consider if you are facing this situation.
Getting Disability Benefits When You are Over 65.
The first thing to know is that no matter what your age, applying for and being awarded disability benefits is always challenging, often confusing, frequently frustrating and generally takes a long, long time.
The second thing to be aware of is that age (“advanced age” is considered being 55 and over) can be of benefit in the disability medical-vocational analysis. When it comes to whether or not you are determined to be able to adapt to “other work,” the grids used by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) generally dictate a finding that persons of “advanced age” are less likely to be able to adapt to a new job, thus giving older claimants an edge towards being found disabled.
Also, you cannot collect social security retirement and disability benefits at the same time.
Another thing to know is that if you decide to collect your retirement benefits early, the amount of your full retirement benefit will be reduced by 25%. This reduction permanent and cannot be reversed.
The Disability Application Process.
If you are over 65, your application will follow the same process and much of the same analysis as other claims.
To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to prove through objective medical evidence that you are “disabled.” You can do this by meeting a “listed impairment” (conditions that meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled”) set out in the SSA’s “Blue Book,” or through a medical-vocational allowance.
Applications from persons over 65 are given additional scrutiny and consideration, however. Claims from older applicants are given a thorough review by the SSA. Claims examiners and/or Administrative Law Judges (“ALJ”) carefully review the medical records of older applicants for any age-related impairments, like decreased vision or hearing problems. The SSA rules require that age-related impairments cannot be overlooked or dismissed. They must be considered as part of the application process. Claims examiners or ALJs must also take into account the length of any age-related impairments because to be found “disabled,” a claimant must be unable to work for at least 12 months.
The intersection between retirement benefits and SSDI is tricky and can be complicated. That is why it is always best to discuss your situation with experienced social security disability counsel.
Talk to a Disability Attorney Today.
If you are thinking of applying for SSDI benefits or have been denied benefits, call us. At Parmele Law Firm, we handle only social security cases. We have offices in Poplar Bluff, Rolla, St. Louis, St. Joseph, West Plains and other cities in Missouri, and in Overland Park, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita Kansas; as well as in Illinois, and Oklahoma. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call us at 855-727-8625 or send us an e-mail today to set up your free appointment.