Social Security And Special Considerations For Older Disabled Workers

Posted on: 16 June 2021

Disability can strike at any age. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to disabled workers regardless of their age, the type of benefit you receive and even the amount varies depending on the route you take. To find out more about disability benefits for older workers, read on.

Understanding the Term Retirement Age

The SSA allows workers to begin earning retirement benefits as early as age 62 with so-called full retirement age at 66 or so depending on their year of birth. What some might not realize is that you can keep working even after you begin earning your SSA retirement benefits. This allows older workers to shore up extra retirement savings and even to increase their SSA retirement benefits while doing so. Unfortunately, some workers barely make it to an early retirement due to medical conditions that threaten their ability to work.

Applying for SSDI Benefits

Some workers face a choice when they are no longer able to work. Many believe they have no choice, though, and take early retirement. Unfortunately, that might not be the best decision. Though benefits vary from person to person, some disabled workers may earn a higher benefit payment than retirement payment. In general, disability payments are often higher than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. This is how it works:

  1. If you are younger than retirement age, the SSA pays you a disability wage if approved. Once you reach age 62, that payment automatically converts to a retirement payment but the amount stays the same.
  2. If you are older than retirement age and are approved for disability payments, the SSA automatically pays you the higher of either SSDI or retirement benefits which are now known as retirement pay.
  3. If you opt for SSA retirement benefits, you cannot change your mind and apply for disability pay once receiving them.
  4. You cannot earn both SSDI and retirement benefits at the same time.

As you can see, it's better to apply for disability payments before you reach retirement age. If you cannot work at your job, know that older people are more likely to be approved for SSDI than younger people are. That doesn't mean it's easy to get approved, though. If you have been turned down for disability benefits, need help with your application, or have questions about SSDI, speak to a Social Security attorney. They can help you understand the process and advocate for you at your appeal hearing.