This week a person asked my opinion as to whether or not they might be eligible for disability. Due to health, they had not worked for about a year and would soon reach age 62.
To start, filing an application for Social Security disability is the only way to know if you are eligible. An application may or may not be approved.
This person has several Social Security related options since they are almost age 62. Applications can be filed just for Social Security disability, just for retirement or for both.
You can file for Social Security disability if unable to work due to health. SSA disability requirements are strict so the application might not be approved but disability amounts are computed as if you are already at full retirement age (FRA). The result is a higher benefit compared to a reduced retirement amount. In addition, with disability you become eligible for Medicare coverage after two years, even if younger than the usual Medicare age of 65.
You can file for Social Security reduced retirement at age 62. Retirement benefits are easy to start. Essentially, you need to establish your age and have enough work to be eligible.
Another option is to apply for both SSA disability and reduced retirement. Starting retirement would provide income while the disability decision was pending. If found eligible for disability, the total benefit amount would increase to approximately the full retirement age (FRA) amount lowered for the number of months retirement benefits were received before becoming eligible for disability. If disability is not approved, your retirement benefit continues as is. This is usually not an option when a person is already at or past full retirement age.
Learn more about Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov.