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SSDI- Can I get it before I turn 65?

For many workers there seems to be a great deal of confusion about what types of benefits they may be entitled to receive when they are at or near their retirement age. Many claimants think they have to wait until they retire to get disability, some claimants think they can get disability benefits in addition to their retirement and some claimants think they can get their retirement benefits at any age if they become disabled. Hopefully, this blog will help workers understand their options as they near their retirement age.

Can I get disability before I am 65 years of age?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a separate program form SSA retirement benefits and is offered to disabled workers who are less than their full retirement age, who have a severe health condition, who have earned work credits and who are considered insured and who are unable to perform substantial gainful activity.

Now, to answer the question above, because full retirement varies based on a claimant’s birth date this question is a bit confusing, but if you have reached your full retirement age you WILL NOT qualify for SSDI benefits. The assumption for those workers is that whether or not they are disabled or they just decide to retire they will receive their SSA retirement benefits.

But what if you are less than your full retirement age and you have a severe health condition which does not allow you to work for at least 12 continuous months, you are insured and you have earned enough work credits for SSDI benefits? In this case you can qualify for SSDI benefits.

Older than 65 can I get SSDI?

This is where the question can get a bit tricky. For instance, if you have reached your full retirement age at age 65, than you will not qualify for SSDI.  If, however, your full retirement age is 67 than you may decide whether it is better for you to apply for SSDI benefits or if you should take early retirement benefits and get penalized.

This decision should be made only after talking to the SSA and determining the difference between your early retirement payment and your SSDI payment. You should also consider if you have the stamina and time to wait weeks or months for SSDI and potentially fight through multiple denials. Although your chances of winning SSDI do improve as you age, not all claimants who apply for SSDI are automatically approved for benefits, while SSA retirement is guaranteed.

Other Considerations

Another consideration is your medical insurance. Medicare is generally not offered to claimants who are less than 65 years of age who have retired. It also is not offered to SSDI recipients until 24 months after the date of their disability. This could mean that if you take early retirement or you file for SSDI benefits you may have a period of time where you are not covered by Medicare. This should also be discussed with the Social Security Administration.

Disability lawyers can also answer any questions you have about what options might be best in your particular case.
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