What are the requirements and how does my wife file for Social Security disability insurance, SSDI, benefits?

Published: July 6, 2021

Full question: I am 66.5 and my wife is 66 and disabled. I am going to wait until I’m 70 because I still work, but my wife was wondering do you receive more benefits if you are filing disabled? And what do you need to do in order to file for disability under Social Security? Is it better to both wait until your 70 if one spouse is working and one is disabled?

Hello,

You did not say if your wife is collecting SSDI, but if she is, those benefits will convert to her Social Security retirement benefits at her full retirement age, FRA. If your wife is 66 and was born in 1955, her full retirement age is 66 and 2 months, so she is already FRA or will be later this year.

If she is not collecting SSDI, then she can apply for Social Security retirement benefits and will receive an amount based on the age she begins collecting, up to the maximum at age 70. As close as she is to FRA, it would not make sense to apply for SSDI now. If interested, you can learn more about Social Security disability here.

Also, depending on her lifetime earnings history, she may qualify for spousal benefits, based on your earnings record, if they are a higher amount than her own retirement benefits. Spousal benefits are up to 50% of the other spouse’s FRA benefit, if collected at FRA, and do not increase after FRA. For her to collect spousal benefits, you would need to be collecting retirement benefits.

Warm regards,
Martha

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