10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

Ask Bob: Can I get Social Security disability after I reach full retirement age?

A reader reached his full retirement age without starting Social Security then became disabled. Can he still receive Social Security disability?
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Question

I have a couple of questions that I was hoping you might be able to help me out on.

I am 67 years old and have not yet applied for Social Security retirement. My wife is 64 and has not yet applied for it either. She doesn't work but qualifies for some benefits. I was planning on working until 70 before applying for it but in March of this year was diagnosed with cancer. I was working up until then but had to stop working because of my health. My wife probably won't be able to go back to work because of our situation and her needing to help me.

I thought we would both apply for Social Security retirement now because we need the income. Estimates of those benefits right now would be $1,650/month for me and $850/month for my wife. I have heard of survivor's benefits but am not 100% sure of how that works out.

My main question is this: Is it possible to get Social Security disability (SSDI) after full retirement age? If so, would it be any more than my Social Security retirement benefits now? I understand that the diagnosis I have is an automatic inclusion for disability. But here again, the big question is can someone get disability after FRA (66)?

Answer

No, it is not possible to get Social Security disability benefits after attaining full retirement age, says Mike Piper, author of “Social Security Made Simple.” (See Code of Federal Regulations/CFR and Program Operations Manual System/POMS for references.)

“His recent diagnosis is definitely a point in favor of his wife filing for benefits as early as possible,” notes Piper. As the lower earner, when she waits to file for benefits, it increases the household benefit for as long as both people are still alive. "As long as both people are still alive" is now a shorter expected period than it was expected to be prior to this diagnosis.

“However, despite the diagnosis, it would still likely be beneficial for him to wait to file for his own benefit,” Piper adds. As the higher earner, when he waits to file for benefits, it increases the household benefit for as long as either person is still alive -- because it would increase her benefit as a widow if she were to outlive him.

“Of course, if the cash flow from both benefits is absolutely needed right now,” he says, “then the above point is not really relevant.”

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Question

I have a couple of questions that I was hoping you might be able to help me out on.

I am 67 years old and have not yet applied for Social Security retirement. My wife is 64 and has not yet applied for it either. She doesn't work but qualifies for some benefits. I was planning on working until 70 before applying for it but in March of this year was diagnosed with cancer. I was working up until then but had to stop working because of my health. My wife probably won't be able to go back to work because of our situation and her needing to help me.

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