If you have been working full-time but a medical condition has left you unable to work, you might be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. If you are an older individual, you might be wondering if you can still apply for disability benefits or if you might as well go ahead and apply for your Social Security retirement benefits.
Sometimes individuals who are older, such as older than age 65, might not be able to continue working, but they don’t want to start collecting full Social Security retirement benefits yet. In those cases, that individual might be able to get disability benefits. You cannot collect both Social Security retirement and disability at the same time, but you can still apply for disability benefits.
How Can Someone Older Than 65 Be Approved for Disability?
If you are older than 65 and you want to apply for disability benefits, there are two ways to qualify for approval. The first way to be approved is to either meet or equal a listing. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a medical guide called the Blue Book to determine if an individual is classified as disabled and qualifies for benefits. Listings can be equaled if your impairment is very similar to a condition and is as limiting as a Blue Book listing, but it is not the same as the Blue Book listing.
The other option is using a medical-vocational allowance. Using this approach, the SSA will consider all your medical issues, restrictions, limitations, work history, skills, and educational background to decide if you are still able to work. Your age will come into play as you will not be able to adjust to a new kind of work as easily as you would have at a younger age.
Individuals older than 65 applying for disability will have to meet the same listing requirements as anyone else. However, there are some extra considerations given for those older than 65 as well. As an example, an older applicant’s case must be given a thorough review. The claims examiner or administrative law judge must carefully review the medical records for any age-related impairments, such as decreased vision or hearing problems. The SSA rules also indicate that age-related impairments cannot be dismissed and must be considered as part of the application process. The length of age-related impairments must be properly considered because you must be unable to work for at least 12 months to be approved for disability benefits.
Consult With a Disability Attorney
If you are unable to work because of a medical condition and you are 65 or older, you should consult with a disability attorney. You might be eligible for disability benefits, so you won’t have to retire earlier than you anticipated. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form, so you can have your case reviewed by a Social Security disability lawyer right away and your claim can get on the right track!