Disabled individuals who are unable to work but over the age of 65 may still be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

In some cases, older individuals may be unable to continue working because of a disability, but they’re not ready to begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Under these circumstances, individuals may be able to apply for disability benefits, although they won’t be able to collect both disability and Social Security retirement benefits simultaneously.

When Applicants Over the Age of 65 Can Qualify for Benefits

If an applicant for disability exceeds the age of 65, there are two ways they can qualify and get approved.

The principal qualification that individuals need to meet is to either equal or meet a specific Social Security Administration (SSA) listing. The SSA determines whether applicants qualify for disability benefits by referring to a medical guide known as the Blue Book. Applicants may qualify for benefits if their impairment matches or is nearly identical to a specific listing in the Blue Book.

The other qualification that applicants over 65 will need to meet is to have a medical-vocational allowance. In these cases, the SSA assesses all medical issues, limitations, work history, specific job-related skills, and educational background to determine if the applicant is still able to return to work. The applicant’s age will also contribute to the decision because of the decrease in versatility as a person ages when it comes to adjusting to a new work environment and tasks.

Generally, applicants over the age of 65 who wish to receive benefits will need to meed the same listing requirements as all other applicants, but other considerations can play a part in the final decision. Oftentimes, an administrative law judge or claims examiner will take a close look at the applicant’s medical records to identify any impairments pertaining to the applicant’s age. Potential conditions related to age could include decreased vision or problems with their hearing.

The SSA also takes the length of these age-related impairments into consideration because applicants must be unable to work for at least a full year before they can get approved.

If an individual over 65 would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits before starting to collect retirement benefits, it’s often best to speak with a disability attorney. A reputable attorney can review an applicant’s case and help determine whether he or she is eligible to receive disability benefits.