Social Security Disability programs have age brackets in place to help determine the requirements an individual needs to meet in order to receive disability benefits. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss each age bracket and how the requirements for SSD changes.
Can individuals under the age of 19 get social security disability?
If you are under the age of 19, your only option is going to be SSI – supplemental security income.
Children are only eligible for SSI. They’re not eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI).
This is because SSDI is only for people who have worked and paid into the system. Obviously, a minor child, someone who is three, four, five years old hasn’t worked and paid into the system; so, they are only eligible for SSI. So, someone who’s under the age of 19, 18, still in school, but just under the age of 19, those people are only eligible for SSI.
SSI is also available for people after they turn 18, so SSI is for both adults and children.
Once you turn 18, if you have not paid insufficient work credits, you are only going to be eligible for the supplemental security income program. The SSI program is capped at about $735 a month, and it comes with Medicaid.
In order to receive SSDI, you need to have enough work credits. Someone who has never worked has never paid FICA taxes which is a key part of SSDI. Adults and children who have not worked are going to be limited to SSI.
The SSDI Loophole
People who have worked are eligible for social security disability insurance. However, from age 18 to 21, there’s a loophole.
If you are 18-21, you can apply for SSDI under your parents’ earning record even if you have never worked. Doing so would make you eligible for SSDI and make you eligible for Medicare instead of Medicaid.
However, you must apply in those three years before you turn 21. If you wait until you turn 21 years old, then you have to apply for SSI, because you haven’t paid into the system.
What are the work requirements for individuals ages 21 to 30?
The second age group is from 21 to 30. Typically, to get SSD, you have to have “paid in” for ten years. When I say “pay in”, I am talking about the minimum amount of time that you have to have worked. So, typically, you have to have worked five of the past ten years in order to get SSD.
However, at 21-30 years old, you only have to have worked half of the number of years since your 20th birthday.
So if you’re 22, they don’t expect you to have worked five of the past ten years. You only have to have worked one of the last two years.
If you’re 25, you only have to have worked half of the five years. You only have to have worked two-and-a-half years to have sufficient credits.
If you’re 29, you only have to have worked four-and-a-half years instead of the full five years to have the sufficient work credits.
So, from 21 to 30, you only have to have worked half the number of those ten years, or whatever age that you’ve made it to. At 21, you have to have worked six months. At 22, you have to have worked one year. At 25, you have to have worked two-and-a-half years. At 26, you have to have worked three years. And that’s how you build up enough credits to be eligible for SSDI.
So, in your 20s, whatever the second number is, you just divide that number by two and that’s how many years you have to have worked to be eligible for SSDI.
Are individuals ages 31 to 49 years old eligible for SSDI?
From 31 to 49, you have to have worked five of the past ten years to be eligible for social security disability. That age group is actually called “younger individuals.”
This is the most difficult age group vocationally to be accepted for disability, and we have a different blog that will explain the difficulties with being accepted for disability in that age group – the under 49 age group. But just so you know, 31 to 49, they’re called “younger individuals,” and they are eligible for disability as long as you’ve worked five of the past ten years.
Are individuals ages 50 to 66 years old eligible for SSDI?
This age group changes your requirements for getting disability. This age group is split into age brackets. At each one, social security’s standards for disability gets a little bit easier.
At 50-54, they consider you “aging” or “closely approaching advanced age”.
At 55-59, they consider you “advanced age”.
At 60, you are considered “approaching retirement age”.
So, if you’re on the fence about applying for disability, at each one of these age brackets it gets a little bit easier. If you’re thinking about it and you can hold on another two months, it’s going to be a little bit easier at 55 and at 60.
At age 62, you are permitted to apply for both early retirement and social security disability. So, you can receive your early retirement and SSDI but you get a discounted rate.
If you retire right at 62, they give you 75% of your full retirement, but you can get that money while you wait for a determination on whether or not you’re disabled. So, you get a lower burden for proving disability, and you can get 75% of your retirement benefit while you’re waiting for that determination. So, that’s an advantage.
Can you get SSDI if you are 66+ years old?
And the last number is your full retirement age. Right now at 66, if you have not applied for disability by the time you’re five months from your full retirement age, there’s nothing that can be done.
The reason is that there is a five-month waiting period for your benefits to start. So if you waited four months before your retirement age, they’d say, “Well, your benefits wouldn’t start until after you’d retired, so there’s no point. You might as well just wait until your retire because your check would start faster.”
So, next is retirement age. Once you hit retirement age, they will not take your application.
The reason being you cannot get disability and retirement. They don’t stack on top of each other. It’s one or the other.
I get phone calls all the time asking people, “I’m only getting $1200 in retirement. I need to apply for disability as well,” or “I worked until 70. I was getting retirement, and now I got hurt. I want my disability.” They’re not stacking programs. It’s one or the other. So, once you’re on social security retirement, you’re 66 or above, you’re not eligible for any more of the disability programs.
Do you qualify for SSDI?
If you are planning on applying or already applying for social security disability, you can contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re always happy to help.
View slide deck: The Effect of Age on SSD
View video: Age Effect on Disability Insurance