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Learn About the Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits

When discussing eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for seniors, it is important to understand how an applicant’s age will affect his or her enrollment. One of the most important requirements for Social Security disability for seniors is that a beneficiary’s disability payments will automatically transform into retirement benefits as soon as he or she reaches full retirement age. However, before reaching this age, an older adult can receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Qualifying for Social Security senior disability benefits means an older adult can only be eligible for assistance once he or she has reached retirement age. Therefore, older adults with disabilities need to be aware of how their age will affect their eligibility for disability payments or retirement benefits. Another important rule regarding senior citizens and Social Security disability benefits eligibility is that applicants must have a qualifying disability and meet work requirements in order to receive benefits. Learn more about all of the eligibility rules for seniors in the sections below.

What are the work requirements for seniors on Social Security Disability Benefits?

Qualifying for Social Security senior disability benefits requires that you have worked and paid enough taxes. When discussing the requirements for Social Security disability for seniors, it is important to note that most people are referring specifically to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This benefit is referred to as “insurance” because you can only benefit from it if you paid into the Social Security disability fund by having taxes taken out of your salary. Before you can qualify for disability benefits from Social Security, you generally need to work for at least 10 years. Learn more information on how work can affect your eligibility for benefits by downloading our detailed guide for seniors.

What disabilities qualify for senior Social Security Benefits?

One of the most important requirements for Social Security disability for seniors is that an applicant must have a qualifying disability. Social Security disability benefits eligibility for seniors is determined using strict definitions. As far as the Social Security Administration is concerned, individuals are disabled if they:

  • Cannot perform the same work they did before becoming disabled.
  • Are unable to adjust or obtain alternative work due to their condition.
  • Will be disabled for more than one year or will die as a result of their disability.

To establish a senior’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will need to verify medical information and consider how a senor’s ability to work has been affected by his or her disability. However, it is possible to qualify for Social Security senior disability benefits without an in-depth disability analysis when an individual has certain conditions. Seniors should note that requirements Social Security disability for seniors disqualify those who can find alternative means of income or work are usually excluded from receiving benefits. People who are partially disabled do not meet eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for seniors and will not receive any sort of partial benefit from Social Security. Instead, the Social Security Administration reserves benefits for people with the greatest degree of disability who are unable to provide for themselves or their families as a result of their condition.

Learn About Additional Requirements for Seniors on SSDI

To follow the requirements for Social Security disability for seniors, you also need to be meet a few additional criteria before you can apply. First, eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for seniors is only open to you if you are a U.S. citizen or a legally-present resident. Second, you need to have a Social Security Number. When you apply, you should be prepared to show proof that you meet these criteria.

Are there other benefits that seniors on SSDI may qualify for?

When talking about qualifying for Social Security senior disability benefits, remember that most people are referring to Social Security Disability Insurance. However, many seniors qualify for Social Security disability benefits in addition to another program: Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is similar to regular disability benefits, but there are a few key differences that seniors should note. Most importantly, SSI is available to low-income disabled people who are younger than 65 years of age, and it is possible to receive both SSI and disability insurance at the same time. When a person turns 65 years of age, he or she may then be eligible receive SSI with or without having a disability. The age requirements for Social Security disability for seniors mean that a person who is older than 65 years of age, disabled and retired will begin receiving retirement benefits and SSI if he or she was already receiving both SSI and disability insurance before reaching this age. Older adults who are enrolled in SSI and disability insurance benefits may wish to contact their local Social Security office to learn exactly what will happen to their benefits when they retire or reach retirement age. Learn about other programs seniors on disability benefits can use by reading our detailed guide to senior services.