Legal Matters: Common Questions in Applying For Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability
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By Jonathan Young

Q. If I am over age 62 and unable to work because of poor health, should I just apply for my early Social Security retirement benefits? 
 

A. No. You should speak to an attorney and explore applying for Social Security Disability benefits. 
 
If you are age 62 or over and apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you will receive the early retirement benefits as a matter of right while preserving your right to qualify for a full Social Security Disability check.
 
As most people know, one can start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, if you start receiving benefits early, your benefits are reduced a small percent for each month before your “full retirement age.” 
 
For many decades, the full retirement age was 65 years old. In 1983, Congress passed a law to gradually raise the age because people are living longer and are generally healthier in older age.
 
The law raised the full retirement age beginning with people born in 1938 or later. The retirement age gradually increases by a few months for every birth year until it reaches 67 for people born in 1960 and later.
 
To find out how much your benefit will be reduced if you begin receiving benefits from age 62 up to your full retirement age, click here to go to the Social Security website and create a personal Social Security account. 
 
Q. How do I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?
 
A. Following a disability, many individuals struggle due to not being able to work as they used to or not being able to work at all.  Some people don’t even know that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits exist. 
 
Moreover, there is considerable confusion between the several Social Security Benefit programs. If you cannot work and have worked at least 10 years of your life and are applying for disability within five years of the date you last worked, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
 
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website has a list of disabilities that you can navigate to determine whether your disability is included.  Examples of some of these disabilities are:

• Hypertension                                           

• Cardiological problems                       

• Impairments requiring dialysis         

• Degenerative disc disease                   

• Various forms of cancer                       

• Epilepsy                                                   

If your disability is not listed on the SSA website, that does not mean there is no solution. You may still receive benefits if you can show that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. That means you are unable to perform the work that you used to or any other work a person in your position could perform. 
 
You may file an application online or in person.  If your application is denied, you may ask for reconsideration.  If that reconsideration is also denied, you have the right to appeal within a specified period of time.
 
It is crucial that you consult with a lawyer if you are interested in applying for SSDI. The process can be long and complicated. You want to ensure that you can get the benefits that you so desperately need as soon as possible.

If you have a question about any aspect of the Social Security disability benefits process, email Jon or call 215-362-2474.

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About Jonathan Young:

Jon is a local attorney with a downtown performance record. His practice covers a wide range of issues including personal injury litigation, general litigation, workers’ compensation, Social Security litigation, ERISA, wrongful discharge, and employment law claims. 

For three decades, Jon has been been a guarantor of fairness for local individuals. His pragmatic, worldly approach optimizes realistic, positive outcomes for his clients.

Jon splits his time between the two DBD offices in Lansdale and Pottstown and the E. Kenneth Nyce office in Boyertown. Jon is even known to make a house call in a pinch.

He is a Navy Veteran and involved in many organizations.

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