My wife will be 62 in approx 1 week. She had to stop work earlier this year (approx June) because of significant medical issues and does not expect to be able to return to work. She filed a application for SSDI approx 1 month ago. Our finances are strained and emergency fund is shrinking. Would it foul up the situation re: the SSDI application if my wife were to file for the SS benefits she is entitled to at 62? Is SSDI a appropriate means of getting Medicare coverage (as I assume more medical bills will be coming). If it matters, I am a retired 65 yr old who has not filed any SS claim. Thanks in advance for your help! Also kudos to you and your co-authors on your SS and Medicare books!
Filing for Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 wouldn't have any effect on your wife's claim for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, but her benefit rate would be reduced for age at least until her SSDI claim is approved. There is a 5 month waiting period for SSDI, so if your wife's SSDI claim is approved with a disability onset date in June 2018, her SSDI entitlement would begin effective December 2018. Since that precedes your wife's earliest possible entitlement date to retirement benefits, the reduction for age that she takes to start her retirement benefits might not be permanent if her SSDI claim is approved. However, if your wife's SSDI claim is disallowed or eventually approved with a later date of disability onset, then the rate reduction may end up being permanent.
Medicare eligibility begins with the earlier of a) age 65 or b) 2 years after a person's date of entitlement to Social Security disability benefits. Therefore, if your wife's SSDI claim is approved it sounds like her Medicare eligibility could start as early as December 2020.
If you were born prior to January 2 1954 and if your wife files for her retirement benefits or is approved for SSDI, you could potentially file for spousal benefits only when you reach your full retirement age of 66 while allowing your own Social Security retirement benefit rate to grow until age 70. You and your wife should strongly consider using our software to fully explore and compare all of your filing options in order to determine your best overall strategy for claiming your benefits.