Twice in the past 24 hours, a man has asked me if he can apply for Social Security disability benefits even though he is already retired and
collecting Social Security retirement benefits. In both cases, the answer was no. The reason had nothing to do with any medical impairments either of these gentlemen had. The reasoning is much simpler than that: they were just too old.
Social Security does not consider anyone disabled who is above full retirement age (FRA). FRA is the point at which you are entitled to the full amount of your retirement benefits. If you were born in 1960 or after, your FRA is 67. You can retire anywhere between age 62 and age 70. Retire before FRA and Social Security will penalize you. Retire after FRA and Social Security will reward you.
Upon reaching FRA, you are no longer eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, Social Security will switch those people receiving disability benefits to retirement benefits at FRA.
Retiring Does Not Automatically End Disability Eligibility
This does not mean you cannot apply for Social Security disability simply because you are collecting Social Security retirement. If you start taking Social Security retirement at 62, you could apply for disability for those years between when you were no longer able to work and FRA. In fact, you can apply for retirement and disability at the same time.
If you have reached FRA, congratulations. Enjoy your retirement and all the Social Security benefits you have earned. But, forget about Social Security disability.