To the uninitiated, the world of Social Security can feel a bit like Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole into Wonderland – confusing, disorienting, and more than a little frustrating. People who need Social Security often find the number of regulations governing the program impossible to navigate.
If you’re having trouble getting your claim paid, a lawyer who specializes in Social Security can help. Once you understand the age requirements for Social Security, though, the program is not complicated, and knowing the age barriers to SSI can help you determine if you’re eligible.
General Eligibility Requirements
No matter how old you are or how much money you made when you worked full-time, you have to meet certain eligibility requirements to apply for the program. These include:
- Being a legal U.S. citizen or being a legal alien in a certain number of limited categories; if you’re an immigrant who doesn’t have a Social Security number, you’re likely ineligible for the program.
- Paying into the system. If you’ve never paid taxes, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get Social Security.
- Being blind, disabled, or meeting the age requirements for the program.
- Not being confined to a government institution.
Aging into the System
Most Americans who get Social Security age into the system. To be eligible for Social Security as a result of your age, you have to have a limited income; oftentimes this means retiring or only working part-time. You can begin receiving benefits at age 62, but if you opt for this early benefit program, your benefits will be reduced by a small fraction for each month you retire prior to the full retirement age of 65. People who wait till they’re 65 can seek full benefits.
The retirement age is increasing, and will eventually become 67 for people born in 1958 and later. For those born between 1938 and 1957, the full retirement age is moving to 66. If you’re eligible for retirement now, it’s unlikely that you’ll be affected by these changes. If you’re still a few years away from retirement, though, this handy calculator can help you determine your retirement age.
Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Insurance is reserved for Americans who can’t work due to a medical condition. If you seek disability, there are no age requirements. Instead, you must prove that you have a medical condition that limits your ability to work. Certain medical conditions, such as lung cancer, render you automatically eligible for SSDI if you have proper documentation. Other conditions, such as depression, require documentation demonstrating that your symptoms prevent you from working in a full-time capacity.
Although people of all ages are eligible for SSDI, when you reach retirement age, your disability benefits will be automatically converted to retirement benefits if you’re still receiving Social Security Disability Insurance.
Proper documentation, the right doctor, and the way you choose to work can all affect your eligibility for SSDI. If you’re having trouble getting your claim paid, a skilled Social Security lawyer may be able to help. Contact one of the Social Security Lawyers at McDivitt Law Firm today to request a FREE consultation.