Ask Larry

If My Wife Applies For SSDI Now Will It Reduce Later SS Benefits For Her Or Me?

I am 67, retired, and planning to start SS retirement benefits (substantial) when I turn 70 in January 2025 (per your book and MaxiFi). My wife is 63 and will qualify for her own small SS retirement benefits plus spousal benefits. BUT: she was just diagnosed with ALS. I believe that she can apply now for SSDI benefits, which may be automatic, and that she can then get Medicare, which will help enormously. My question: if she does this (apply for SSDI now), will that goof up or reduce later SS benefits for her or for me? Maybe MaxiFi can answer this, but I haven’t figured that out yet, and would really appreciate your expert advice. Thanks.

Hi. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's illness. No, if your wife files for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits now it couldn't have any adverse effect on either of your future benefit rates. In fact, it would be advantageous for your wife to file for SSDI if she qualifies, since SSDI benefits aren't reduced for age. Plus, as it sounds like you're aware, Medicare eligibility for people with ALS can start as early as their first month of SSDI entitlement. That's an exception to the normal 24 month waiting period for Medicare eligibility based on SSDI entitlement (

One thing I should mention, though, is that there is a specific insured status requirement for SSDI benefits. Although I answer questions submitted to this website, I don't have access to the data that our software subscriber's submit. So, I have no way of knowing if your wife will meet the insured status requirement for SSDI benefits. In order for your wife to meet the insured status requirement for SSDI benefits, she would need to have earned the equivalent of at least 5 years of Social Security credits within the 10 year period leading up to when she became disabled. Specifically, that means she'd need to earned at least 20 quarters (QC) of Social Security coverage within the 40 quarter period prior to when her disability started.

By the way, if you haven't already done so you may want to rerun your software results after factoring in your wife's diagnosis.

Best, Jerry

Nov 24 2022 - 12:38pm
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.