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Social Security: SSA has several benefit options

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Q: Can a person file for both Social Security retirement and disability benefits at age 62? Due to health, I have not worked for about a year and will soon reach age 62.

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A: You have several Social Security options. You can file on your record just for Social Security disability, just for retirement or for both.

You can file for Social Security disability now if unable to work due to health.

SSA disability requirements are strict so the application might not be approved.

If approved, disability amounts are computed as if you are already at full retirement age (FRA). The result is a higher benefit compared to a reduced retirement amount.

In addition, if receiving disability you become eligible for Medicare coverage after two years, even though you would be younger than the usual Medicare age of 65.

You can file for Social Security reduced retirement at age 62.

Retirement benefits are easy to start. Essentially, you need to establish your age and have enough work to be eligible. If already receiving Social Security disability, there is no advantage to filing for SSA retirement for the reasons noted above.

Another option is to apply for both SSA disability and reduced retirement. Starting retirement would provide income while the disability decision was pending or during the disability waiting period.

If found eligible for disability, the total benefit amount would increase to approximately your full retirement age (FRA) amount lowered for the number of months retirement benefits were received before becoming eligible for disability.

If disability is not approved, your retirement benefit continues as is. This is usually not an option when a person is already at or past full retirement age.

Applications for Social Security retirement and disability can be completed online. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Q: Will my own Social Security amount be lower if someone else receives benefits through my record?

A: No. Your own amount is the same whether or not anyone else receives through your record.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at howard.kossover@ssa.gov. Read his online articles at socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.

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