One of the requirements of the SSI program is that beneficiaries must apply for other benefit programs. You can receive SSI and SSA retirement benefits at the same time. Most workers qualify for SSA benefits after 10 years but continue to work until retirement age. The earliest you can start collecting retirements is 62 years of age, but your benefits will be less than had you waited until your full retirement age.
Your full retirement age is around 66 or 67, depending on the year of your birth. If you start collecting benefits at 62, the SSA can reduce your payment up to 30 percent. Your spouse’s benefits will also reduce up to 35 percent. Reductions of 30 to 35 percent are hundreds of dollars each month.
Conversely, your monthly payment will be higher if you wait to collect past your full retirement age, such as 70. For each month you delay retirement benefits, your monthly rate goes up a percentage. For example, if you delay getting benefits by:
- 44 months (70 years old), you will receive a 129.3 percent increase.
- 36 months, you will receive a 121.3 percent increase
- 24 months, you will receive a 113.3 percent increase.
- in 12 months, you will receive a 105.3 percent increase.
Unfortunately, if you become disabled and eligible for SSI benefits before your full retirement age, the program may require you to apply for your reduced retirement benefits early. If you are younger than 62 years of age, you may only be able to enroll in SSDI and SSI.
You can apply for SSI and retirement benefits at an office, online, or by phone. The online application is the fastest way to apply for benefits. You can apply online if you are older than 18 years of age, not currently receiving SSA benefits, have a qualifying medical condition, and have not been denied benefits in the last 60 days.
No matter which method you use to apply, you will need to submit specific documents, including a medical release form. You will need to furnish information and paperwork about where and when you were born, marriage and dependent details, past work and military experiences, and banking information.
As a disabled adult, you can apply for both programs at the same time if you:
- Are between 18 and 65 years of age.
- Have never been married.
- Are a U.S. citizen.
- Live in one of the 50 states, the District of Colombia (Washington D.C.), or one of the Northern Mariana Islands.
If you are researching “Social Security disability advocates near me,” you can find an SSI attorney who can complete the application on your behalf. Your legal representative can also help you apply for retirement benefits.