One requirement of SSI is that those who receive benefits must also apply for other benefit programs. That means you can receive SSI and SSA retirement benefits simultaneously. Most workers qualify for these retirement benefits after 10 years but continue to work until the official retirement age, which is approximately 66 or 67 years old but can vary depending on what year you were born.

However, you can start collecting as early as 62 years old, but the amount you receive will be less than if you had waited until retirement age. If you start collecting at this age, the SSA may reduce your payment by up to 30% and can reduce your spouse’s by up to 35%. That comes out to be hundreds of dollars each month that you won’t get.

Applying for SSI and Retirement Benefits
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On the other hand, if you wait to collect until after your retirement age, you can actually earn more each month. The SSA charts delayed retirement credit based on the year you were born. People born before 1943 would be eligible to receive up to 7.5% increase per year for every year they delayed receiving benefits. The current maximum delayed credit earning is 8% per year for people born in 1943 or later.

That means that for every year you delay receiving retirement benefits, you earn an 8% increase on your primary insurance amount. So if you’re born in 1960 and you wait 12 months (or one year) to receive benefits, you earn an 8% increase for a total of 108% of your primary insurance amount. 

Wait 24 months (two years) to receive benefits, you earn a 16% increase for a total of 116% of your primary insurance amount. If you wait 36 months (or 3 years), you earn a 24% increase for a total of 124% of your primary insurance amount.

It’s important to note that the SSA caps percentage earnings on delayed retirement credit at 70 years of age. So in this example, you would be capped at age 70 after 36 months, earning 124% of your primary insurance amount.

Now, if you become disabled and eligible for SSI benefits before your full retirement age, you may be required to apply for reduced retirement benefits early. And if you are younger than 62 years of age, you may only be allowed to enroll in SSDI and SSI.

You can apply for SSI, disability and retirement benefits at an SSA office, online or over the phone. However, the fastest option is to apply online, which you can do if you are older than 18 years of age, not currently receiving SSA benefits, have a qualifying disability or medical condition and have not been denied benefits in the past 60 days.

For your application, you will need documents like a medical release form and others on when and where you were born, marriage history, proof of dependents, work history, military history (if applicable) and banking information.

As a disabled adult, you can apply for both programs simultaneously if you meet the following requirements:

  • Between 18 and 65 years old.
  • Have never been married.
  • Are a U.S. citizen.
  • Live in one of the 50 states, Washington D.C. or one of the Northern Mariana Islands.

You can also find an SSI attorney who can complete the application on your behalf. Just search “Social Security and Disability advocates near me” to find legal professionals to guide you through the entire process.

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