The Social Security Act was first signed into law in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Originally, the law was designed to offer retirement benefits to the primary worker in a household. It was later expanded to provide for survivor’s benefits, benefits for a retiree’s spouse and children, and disability benefits. Today, Social Security remains an essential lifeline for the vulnerable in America, namely the elderly or disabled and their family members. Generally, 62 is considered the minimum age to receive Social Security benefits, but certain circumstances could allow an applicant to receive benefits at a much younger age.
In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration offers benefits for disabled individuals of all ages. It is believed that up to a quarter of all workers become disabled before reaching retirement age. Applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be complex, as it is not sufficient to establish you are disabled. First, the SSA will need to consider how long you were employed before becoming disabled. Your age will dictate how many years you need to have been employed before you can seek SSDI benefits.
With this standard met, you must then establish that you are indeed disabled. You must be severely enough disabled that you are unable to work for at least one year or the disability will result in death. Your disability must meet the SSA’s qualified disability listing, which includes a wide array of conditions like cancer, heart disease, lung conditions, and much more.
As an alternative to SSDI benefits, those under the age of 62 could potentially seek Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits. SSI applicants who may qualify include those who are legally blind or disabled, as well as those over the age of 65. To receive SSI benefits, you must meet income based criteria and resource caps, along with proving your disability. Cut offs are evolving and you should check with the most recent caps before applying.
In addition to the aforementioned disability based grounds, children and their caretakers could both receive Social Security benefits while under the age of 62 if the child is disabled. The primary caretakers of disabled minor children may receive benefits to assist in the care of the child. Contact a disability attorney today to find out more.