Can My Father File For Disability Benefits In Order To Increase His Benefit Rate?

Jan 9 2019 - 2:49pm

I live in IL but I am asking these questions on behalf of my parents who live in KY (but moving soon to Oklahoma)
My Dad is 74 and he took his SS early when he turned 62 and he is currently on Medicare part A &B. He only gets $884 per month.
He is a pastor in KY for the last 40 years and his monthly salary is only $900 per month (well below the poverty level)
Q 1. Is there anything else he would qualify for that would help them for after he actually retires?
He also injured/shredded the muscles in his groin due to 2 conflicting medicine his Dr. had him on. This made him in-mobile and 6 months later he had to have a quadruple bypass heart surgery. He has since used a walker most of the time and it has greatly reduced his quality of life.
Q 2: Can he apply for being disabled before he actually retires (retiring in April) so he can increase his monthly SS amount?

My mom is 73 and took SS early also when she was 62 as well. She was and still is very healthy and so they (without consulting any of us kids) opted out of the Medicare part B. We have asked around and the census seems to be that if my Mom wants to sign up for the Med. Part B then she has to pay a penalty for the last 11 years which seems to be a rediculous penalty (thousands of dollars)
Q 3. Is there a way to sign my mom up with part B without the penalty?
Q 4. Can she or my Dad qualify for any other benefits through the government since they are below poverty level? Like housing allowance, food stamps, electric assistance etc? This is all so confusing to all of us that we have no idea where to start. We appreciate all you can do to help us/them out. Thanks!! Mike

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about the problems that your father is having. However, since your father is already over full retirement age (FRA) he couldn't file for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) because it wouldn't make any difference in his benefit rate if he was found to be disabled. SSDI benefits are only paid prior to a person's FRA, and the intent of SSDI is to enable a person to draw their Social Security benefits early due to becoming unable to work due to a disability. If a person becomes disabled after reaching FRA, it does not result in a higher Social Security benefit rate.

My only area of expertise is Social Security, and It sounds like your parents are likely already receiving all of the Social Security benefits for which they're entitled. Social Security does administer a needs based program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but your parents' income is probably too high for them to be able to qualify for any SSI benefits. You may want to use SSI screening tool available on the following website to be sure, though: https://ssabest.benefits.gov/. Regarding other possible types of public assistance, you'll need to check with the agencies that administer those benefits.

If your mother refused or dropped Part B Medicare coverage in the past, she could re-enroll now but she'd be required to pay a premium surcharge of 10% for each year that she could have had Part B coverage but chose not to. Medicare eligibility for non-disabled individuals does not begin until age 65, so if she's currently age 73 she might be looking at a premium surcharge of roughly 80%. The current standard Part B premium is currently $135.50, so an 80% surcharge would raise that monthly premium rate to $243.90.

Assuming that your parents have too much income to qualify for Medicaid, there's almost certainly no good health insurance option other than Medicare since private insurance won't pay for charges that Medicare would have covered even if the person opts out of Medicare. There are only certain periods of time that a person is permitted to enroll in Part B of Medicare, and a general enrollment period (GEP) is likely the only option available to your mother. General enrollment periods occur from January through March of each calendar year, and if your mother elects to enroll during the current GEP her Part B coverage will begin on July 1st of this year. For more information on Part B Medicare enrollment, refer to the following Medicare website: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms-Items/CMS0173....

Best, Jerry