Why It’s Easier To Get Disability After Age 60
For older workers, in particular claimants 60 and older, Social Security must consult a series of tables called the “grids” to decide if a person is disabled. The grids are a set of rules that take into consideration a disability claimant’s age, residual functional capacity , education, and work history to determine whether the claimant should be approved or denied.
The reason claimants over the age of 60 are much more likely to be approved under the grids is because Social Security takes into consideration the fact that it may be harder for older workers to learn new skills and to transition into new workplaces. That said, if you worked at a skilled job before you became disabled and you could put your skills to use at a less demanding type of job, you won’t be approved for disability just because you are older.
Here is what the grids take into account.
How To Use The Grids
Here are the specific grid rules for people who are aged 60 and older. Find the grid that describes your RFC . Next, find the row that describes your education level and your previous work experience. The final column will show the decision that Social Security will make based on the previous factors.
RFC for SEDENTARY WORK
Recent education or training for skilled work
Skilled or semiskilled work with or without transferable skills
It can be difficult to determine the skill level of your old job and whether any of the skills you learned can transfer to another position. If you are unsure about this, you should speak to an experienced disability attorney.
Disability Benefits For Veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- medical aids or devices
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Getting Medicare Enrollment Assistance
If you have questions about or need help with Medicare eligibility or enrollment due to disability, you will want to talk with Social Security office. You can also go to your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program office for Medicare counseling.
If you get approved for disability benefits but arent yet eligible for Medicare yet , you can reach out your local state human services agency to see if Medicaid may be an option for you.11
Do Ssdi Benefits Always Convert To Retirement Benefits At Age 65
If you were born before 1937, your SSDI benefits would change to retirement benefits at age 65. However, younger people will have to wait longer. When your benefits convert depends on your birth year.
Here is when SSDI benefits switch to retirement benefits based on birth years:
- Born in 1938: 65 years and two months
- Born in 1939: 65 years and four months
- Born in 1940: 65 years and six months
- Born in 1941: 65 years and eight months
- Born in 1942: 65 years and 10 months
- Born 1943 through 1954: 66 years
- Born in 1955: 66 years and two months
- Born in 1956: 66 years and four months
- Born in 1957: 66 years and six months
- Born in 1958: 66 years and eight months
- Born in 1959: 66 years and 10 months
- Born 1960 or later: 67 years
Unlike SSDI, your income does not limit your Social Security retirement benefits. The SSDI rules will no longer count for your retirement benefits.
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Eligibility For Medicare Disability Benefits
If You Are Under Age 65 Social Security Disability Insurance
If you are age 18 to 64, your eligibility for Medicare is tied to your eligibility for Social Security Disability Income benefits. One exception is for people with end-stage renal disease , who are automatically eligible for Medicare solely on the basis of having ESRD.
You must qualify for and receive SSDI monthly income benefits to be eligible for Medicare. SSDI benefits are based on work credits earned through Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Medicare-covered government employment. Note: If you dont have work credits and dont qualify for SSDI, you may qualify for other income benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income . For more information, see If You Dont Qualify for SSDI.
To qualify for SSDI, you must be unable to work for a least one year because of a qualifying physical or mental impairment, a combination of impairments or a terminal condition resulting from an impairment. You can apply for SSDI at your local Social Security Administration office. Once you are approved for SSDI, you must wait 5 months for your income benefits to begin, and an additional 24 months before Medicare benefits begin.
However, there are 2 exceptions:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
If you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , you can get Medicare the first month you get SSDI monthly income benefits.
Ongoing Eligibility for Medicare and SSDI
If You Dont Qualify for SSDI
Ending Ltd Benefits At 65 Not Age Discrimination
Worker claimed she was forced to retire at 65 and take pension after LTD benefits ended
Mandatory retirement no longer exists in Ontario, meaning workers who reach the age of 65 can continue working if they wish. Employers who try to pressure older workers into retiring can face claims of age discrimination. However, does this right to choose not to retire apply to workers receiving long-term disability benefits? Not if the plan specifies benefits end and pension begins at 65, according to an adjudicator.
Trudy Austin began working for Bell Canada in 1969. She worked for many years without any major problems until July 2002, when she had to go on long-term disability leave.
Bells LTD plan included an income protection program that stipulated benefits upon which the employee would continue to make pension contributions the same as if actively working would end when the employee reached 65 years of age. At that point, the pension benefits earned under the companys pension plan would kick in.
In 2014, Austin suffered a medical issue that required some recovery. By October of that year, she felt stronger and more confident, so she thought she could try to return to work after 12 years of LTD leave. She saw her doctor, who informed Bell that Austin was ready to try to return to work. Over the next couple of months, Austin kept in contact with Bell as a plan was formulated for a graduated return to work in an accommodated position.
Worker faced choice at age 65
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Benefits Of A Longer Elimination Period
A longer elimination period means lower premiums, and your premium rate is something you should be aware of with any type of insurance policy. If you can only afford so much for long-term disability insurance, you may need to go with a longer elimination period.
You should find the right balance of premium payments versus elimination period length that works for you. Most long-term disability insurance policies are the most cost-effective with a 90 day elimination period, so opting for a longer elimination period likely wonât be worth it.Also important to note: long-term disability insurance benefits usually wonât pay out until the end of the month depending on when youâre approved, you could be adding another 30 days or so before you actually get any benefits.
Can You Be Kicked Off Ltd
Technically, an employee is entitled to stay on LTD so long as they remain totally disabled. However, sometimes after a few years, the insurer raises the argument that the insured is no longer totally disabled and is fit to return to work in the same or some other occupation. In this case, it is the employees responsibility to prove they are still totally disabled. If a disagreement still remains, it is advisable that the insured should contact a lawyer to challenge the insurance company.
For any more questions about long term disability in Ontario, or if you need help applying for LTD or appealing an LTD decision, contact Dutton Employment Law for a free consultation.
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Social Security Spousal Benefits
The spouse of a retired worker can receive up to half of their spouses benefits. This does not reduce the benefits that the spouse receives. This benefit is generally for spouses who do not have a sufficient work history to be otherwise eligible for benefits or whose work history entitles them to a lower benefit than they would receive from the spousal benefit.
To get Social Security spousal benefits, you must be one of the following:
- At least 62 years old
- Any age if you are taking care of your spouses child who is also receiving benefits
- A divorced spouse who is at least age 62, whose marriage lasted at least 10 years, and who remains unmarried
Depending on the date of birth, full spousal benefits kick in at the same age as a workers full retirement benefits. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but if you do so, then the benefit will be permanently reduced.
The spousal benefit continues until one spouse dies. The survivor then may be eligible for survivor benefits.
Find Out How To Save On Your Medicare Costs
Reaching retirement age means that you may also be considering your Medicare coverage options.
Medicare can be confusing, and depending on where you live, there may be a number of different Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans available in your area.
Compare Medicare plans in your area
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About the author
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
Where you’ve seen coverage of Christian’s research and reports:
MedicareAdvantage.com is a website owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and TruBridge, Inc. represent Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plans having Medicare contracts enrollment in any plan depends upon contract renewal.
Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE , 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
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When Does Social Security Disability End
Social Security Disability benefits are available to those who are unable to work due to a significant medical condition or have a health issue that is expected to result in death. For a disability to qualify, it must be significant enough that it would prevent you from working for at least one full year.
If you are disabled, Social Security will continue to monitor your condition on a regular basis through Continuing Disability Reviews. These reviews must occur every 18 months, three years, or seven years depending on your condition. If you suffer from a condition that is likely to improve, you can expect a shorter review cycle. However, chronic conditions that are unlikely to improve may involve a longer time between reviews.
If you are currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to know what circumstances would cause them to end and what your limitations are regarding income. In addition, you should be aware of what changes to your benefit income you may see as you reach retirement age.
Returning to WorkSince disability benefits are generated due to an inability to work, one common means of benefit termination is returning to work. In 2020, Social Security Disability allows a recipient to generate up to $1,260 per month, or $2,110 for those who are blind. However, any income over this amount, and potentially an amount below it, could qualify as substantial gainful activity, disqualifying you from receiving Disability benefits.
How Your Benefits Convert
When you reach your age of full retirement, your benefits will not be interrupted or change in amount. However, the fund where the benefits come from will be different. The SSA changes your benefits from the Social Security Disability fund to a different retirement program fund when you reach your retirement age.
Note that this conversion happens automatically, and you dont have to do anything when you reach your retirement age. The SSA will convert your benefits for you.
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Options To Make It Through A Long Elimination Period
The longer the elimination period, the longer youâll need to find other ways to replace your lost income. Without a paycheck or long-term disability insurance benefits, youâll need to turn to sources like credit cards, loans and other debt, the charity of friends and family, short-term disability insurance , and more severe budget cuts than you were planning. What compromises youâre willing to make in order to make payments in your life will contribute to your decision about the elimination period.
One way to at least somewhat circumvent this dilemma is with an emergency fund. There isnât a set amount of emergency funds that you should have set aside â personal finance experts typically recommend anywhere from 3 monthsâ worth of expenses to a full year â and the size of your emergency fund can dictate how long to make your elimination period. Youâll have to rebuild your fund at some point afterward, but you wonât have to worry about things like racking up credit card bills, defaulting on payments, or paying others back. Itâs the perfect use case for an emergency fund: money whose explicit purpose is covering your expenses while you donât have income.
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What Happens With My Ssd When I Hit Full Retirement Age
There are two major changes that take affect when you reach full retirement age. The first is that your benefits will no longer be paid through SSD. Instead, you will transition to the SSAs Old Age or retirement program instead. Your benefits will not be interrupted with this transition and the benefit payment will be processed as usual. It will simply come in from a different Social Security fund rather than SSD, but you wont even notice the difference.
The second change that comes with reaching full retirement age is that your benefits are no longer subject earning limits that were in place with your SSD benefits. In other words, you can increase your earnings from a part time job or other income source without losing dollars in your monthly benefit check.
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Services Equipment & Access
People younger than age 65 who have Medicare due to a disability occasionally have difficulty obtaining specialized Medicare-covered services, equipment and supplies. While some younger people are relatively healthy despite their disabilities, others have serious physical and mental conditions that require coordinated care from highly trained specialists. Some people also need unusual or customized equipment. In addition, certain specialized equipment and supplies may not be covered by Medicare. Getting the necessary services, equipment and supplies you need may depend on your ability to advocate for it. This may involve a great deal of persistence.
You have the right to assistance or equipment that provides you with the same access as others to services and facilities. For example, if you have a hearing, speech or language disability, you have the right to an interpreter or some other method or equipment for communicating with medical providers. You have the right to accessible equipment, such as examination tables and mammography equipment that can accommodate wheelchair users. However, it must be reasonable for a medical provider to supply these accommodations, and doing so cannot create an undue burden on the financial resources of the provider. The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division oversees these issues.
You May Qualify For A Disability Pension Benefit If You Meet All Of The Following Requirements:
- You have a Total and Permanent Disability, confirmed by your approval for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, and you continue to be eligible for these benefits
- You were Vested when the Total and Permanent Disability occurred
- The condition or event giving rise to your Total and Permanent Disability occurred on or before your last day working in a Covered Job Category and
- Your Covered Employment terminated as a result of that condition or event.
Your disability pension benefit will be paid in an amount equal to the Straight Life Pension with No Survivor option. See Section VI for an explanation of pension options.
A disability pension benefit is not automatic. You must apply to the Pension Fund for this benefit. In addition, you may be required by the Pension Fund to re-certify that you continue to qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. For more information, contact the Pension Fund.
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How To Choose A Disability Policy That Fits Your Needs
If your employer offers STD insurance as mandatory or voluntary part of your employee benefit package, thats great but its just a start. You should also see if they offer a long term group plan if youre self-employed you may be able to get coverage through a professional association. Either way, group insurance can be an excellent choice. The company or association is buying for a large group of people, so the premium is typically lower than for an individual policy. In addition, your HR department will likely have more expertise and leverage to negotiate favorable terms. On the other hand, youll probably have less opportunity to tailor the policy to your needs, compared to an individual policy. If the premiums are paid with pre-tax dollars then the income benefit you get down the road will typically be taxed. Finally, if you leave the company or association, in most cases youll also lose your coverage.