If you’re 62-years-old or older and have a medical condition that now stops you from working, you may be wondering about Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Filing for disability benefits makes sense — but it also seems like a lot of work. Should you just file for retirement, instead?
Obtaining retirement benefits is a fairly quick-and-easy process, and you have the right to file for Social Security any time after you turn 62 years of age. The only problem is that you won’t receive your entire potential benefit amount.
Your cash benefits will ultimately be reduced a little for each month you’re under the “full” retirement age. Full retirement age used to be at 65 years of age for everyone, but it now operates on a sliding range that’s based on your year of birth. In addition, Medicare benefits — which enable many seniors to meet their medical needs — don’t begin until you’re 65 years old.
If you file and obtain approval for SSD, however, you gain two advantages over retirement:
- Your Medicare benefits may start earlier. They typically begin two years after your benefits are approved (including the possible yearlong retroactive period Social Security can grant benefits on a claim).
- Your check will be larger. You won’t take any reduction in your monthly benefit amount. Over time, that can amount to thousands more dollars in your pocket.
You can file a Social Security Disability claim concurrently with your retirement claim. That can allow you to start receiving the cash benefits you need while waiting on your SSD to be approved. Filing for SSD is a lot more work than filing for retirement, but the end results can be worth it.