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SSDI - I am 69, can I get my benefits?

Recently on our disability forum we had a claimant ask if they were still eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if they had reached 69 years of age but they were now disabled and unable to work due to a severe health condition.

The short answer is no. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is not offered to applicants who have reached their full retirement age. The expectation for this claimant is that if they cannot work, assuming they have sufficient work credits, they would begin to claim SSA retirement benefits. Information about filing for SSA retirement can be found on the SSA website at

I was getting SSDI but now it is gone

Another common misconception is that when you are getting SSDI and you reach your full retirement age that you will continue to get both SSDI and SSA retirement benefits simultaneously. This is also incorrect. If you are getting Social Security Disability Insurance and you reach your full retirement age your SSDI payment is automatically converted to SSA retirement; and SSDI is terminated.

Can I get SSDI if I have not reached my full retirement age?

Claimants who are less than their full retirement age (but who have reached their early retirement age) and who are disabled and unable to work may apply for SSDI benefits instead of their SSA early retirement benefits.

Whether or not this is a good idea will depend entirely on your estimated payment for each benefit and if you have the fortitude to fight through the SSDI application process. Although it will be less difficult for an elderly claimant (over the age of 62) to get SSDI benefits, unlike SSA retirement, there are no guarantees. Claimants will also have to wait 24 months from the date of their disability to get Medicare so you also may have to continue to wait to get healthcare benefits.

Contact the SSA to discuss your payment amounts for each benefit or review your most recent Statement of Earnings, which is the report sent to every worker each year listing their estimated disability and retirement benefits.

Can I get Supplemental Security Income if I am 69?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is offered to the aged, disabled or blind who are unable to work. If you are 69 years old and you are no longer able to engage in what the SSA terms substantial gainful work activity you may qualify for SSI benefits, assuming you have VERY limited income and resources.

SSI can be a great option for the aged who did not acquire enough work credits in their life to be considered insured for SSDI or SSA retirement benefits.

What if you are getting SSA retirement? Can you still get SSI benefits? Yes, but only if your SSA retirement is VERY low and you have limited income and resources. A low income is one that is less than the current federal benefit rate of $698. Income from other sources such as a working spouse is counted in the income evaluation. So if you spouse is working and making too much money you would not qualify for SSI benefits, regardless of your age or health.
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