Can I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 66 which is Full Retirement age?
No. You cannot apply for Social Security disability if you have already reached full retirement age, which is age 66. But before you hit age 66, if you are disabled, you can file for Social Security disability.
Applying for disability at age 65. You can still file for disability at age 65 or younger. In fact, its easier for those over 65 to get disability benefits. For example, Social Security examiners and judges must look for age-related impairments, things such as hearing or memory loss, even if they are not mentioned on your application. In addition, Social Security recognizes that medical conditions are less likely to resolve themselves quickly after you reach age 65.
Keep in mind that you do have to be under full retirement age to collect Social Security disability. Currently, full retirement age is 66. In year 2027, it will go up to age 67.
Why should I file for disability before full retirement age? There are many advantages to applying for social security disability benefits before you reach full retirement age. For starters, the amount you'll receive under social security disability is higher than what you'd receive under early retirement. If you can qualify for disability benefits, you can expect to receive your full retirement amount before reaching full retirement age. Essentially your disability benefit equals your full retirement amount.
Also, you will avoid being penalized for collecting Social Security's early retirement. For those with disabilities, Social Security disability is like an collecting early retirement without the penalty for collecting benefits early. This is because the early retirement penalty will lower your current and future retirement benefits whenever you collect retirement benefits before you reach age 66. For example, If you collect early retirement benefits at age 62, your benefits will be reduced about 20% for the rest of your life.
Lastly, the years you have been unable to work due to a disability, will not be included in calculating your normal retirement benefit. This can lead to a higher retirement benefit amount, but only if Social Security finds you disabled.