Ask Larry

Should I Apply Early For Social Security?

I am working with the Federal government for ten years of services with Indian Health Services, but I know I will probably only get less than $200.00, not enough to live on.
I am seriously thinking of doing an Early Medical Retirement after February 2022 because my body is not healthy like it used to, and I have other health issues already getting worst.
I’m 57 years old and will need help with applying and which paperwork to do on the disability, too.
I’m permanently from Arizona, where I will be moving back and live. I only work here in New Mexico, renting and would like to move back to my house because I can’t work anymore.
Then later, I probably will need help with Social Security, or should I go ahead and apply early or not.
I got your email information from my cousin’s sister who highly recommended you. I would appreciate your assistant with this, please. Thank you.


My expertise is limited to Social Security benefits, so I'm unable to give you any advice about filing for benefits from the federal employee retirement system. As for filing for Social Security benefits, the earliest that you can claim benefits based on your own earnings is at age 62, unless you are unable to work due to a disability. You can apply for benefits either online at (, or you can call Social Security to make an appointment to apply by phone or in person.

If you could qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, it would probably advantageous for you to apply for those benefits. The amount paid to people who qualify for SSDI benefits is essentially equal to their full retirement age (FRA) rate, so drawing SSDI is like receiving your full unreduced Social Security retirement benefits early.

It probably wouldn't do any good to apply for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits until you stop working, though.
If you apply for SSDI benefits while you're still working and earning more than the amount that Social Security classifies as substantial gainful activity (SGA), your claim would be disallowed without even considering your medical condition. The monthly SGA level for non-blind individuals in 2021 is $1310, so work for earnings in excess of that amount would result in the disallowance of a claim for SSDI benefits regardless of the person's medical condition.

The actual application process isn't difficult, but if you're concerned about making a mistake you should probably plan on filing by phone or in person. That way, a Social Security claims representative would assist you with completion of the necessary paperwork. If you apply for SSDI, Social Security will need to know the names of any doctors and hospitals that you've seen regarding your disabling impairment(s). Be prepared to be patient if and when you apply for SSDI, though. After you file your application for SSDI benefits, it may take Social Security several months to make a determination on your claim.

Best, Jerry

Dec 4 2020 - 8:09am
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