If you ask just about anyone in Illinois who has applied for Social Security benefits, they’ll more than likely tell you that the system is not only complicated, but frustrating as well. But to help cut through some of the confusion, we wanted to focus this week’s post on helping disabled people nearing retirement age maximize their benefits for the long run.
Let’s say you are a disabled worker currently receiving Social Security disability benefits and you are nearing retirement age. Disabled and non-disabled workers may start receiving benefits when they reach 62; but unlike disabled workers, non-disabled workers are forced to take reduced benefits as a result. A disabled worker on the other hand can choose to retire at age 62, receive the full amount of retirement benefits as well as their disability benefits until age 66 with penalty or reduction because of early retirement.
Being married during this time can also help your situation as it qualifies you for “excess spousal benefit,” though depending on when you begin receiving your retirement benefits, your amount could be reduced. It’s important to point out that even if you are divorced, if you were married within 10 years of filing, you may still qualify for extra benefits.
According to many experts, when collecting disability benefits, it’s all in the timing when it comes to filing for retirement benefits as well. You’ll obviously want to make sure that you are maximizing the amount of benefits you receive each month while at the same time not getting caught in the often times confusing loopholes of the system. If you do find yourself in a situation such as that, it’s always a good idea to talk to someone with expert knowledge of the system such as a Social Security Disability attorney. They can not only help you sort out the complications but can help you get back on track to receiving your benefits as well.
Source: PBS News Hour, “How to Maximize Social Security If Disabled and Other SS Questions,” Paul Solman, Feb. 18, 2013