Many people nearing age 62 stop working because they are physically unable to keep working but file for Retirement Benefits and not Disability Benefits. What follows is an actual question & my response by email. NOTE: This person is 64 y/o and had not taken early retirement. If you already took early retirment, it isn't too late to fix it (probably). You can go back and try to recover the additional benefits to which you were entitled.
You contacted us b/c you wanted to consult w/a lawyer about whether you, at age 64, are entitled to disability and/or how it would work.
Social Security Retirement & Disability work the way it does in the private sector. You pay a premium via the FICA payroll tax. If you reach full retirement age, but are still able to work, you can either retire, or wait.
But, if you become disabled prior to full retirement age and can no longer work your “retirement” converts into a “disability benefit.” You get the disability benefit at a higher rate until full retirement age at which time it converts to retirement at the slightly lesser amount.
So, you need to stop working, but are afraid to b/c of financial concerns. Here’s how to maximize the time/money getting the higher benefit and remain more or less solvent while you wait for Social Security Disability.
1. Stop working as soon as your doctor will certify that you are not able to work at your past job due to health reasons.
2. Apply for State Disability which will immediately pay about 2/3rds of your past wages for up to 12 months
3. Wait 5 months and file for Social Security Disability
At your age, and assuming what you said about your health will be backed up by your doctor, it is more likely than not (I’d go so far as to say, “far more likely” than not) that you will be approved early- meaning w/o a hearing.
If you’d like to make an appt to talk about this. Please call Katrina or Sondra and make an appointment to meet with me, your friendly neighborhood Social Security Attorney – 707-439-3346.