How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Would I eligible for SSD if I file now since I was disabled at the time I stopped working?


I stopped working in 1989 due to overwhelming back pain from a 1983 auto accident. I had won a personal injury case in 1988. The jury found that I had a severe and permanent injury. In 1992, I was diagnosed with asthma and chronic sinusitis and began to have symptoms of CFS and FM. To add to my disability from my back, I became even more disabled from CFS and FM. At that time, CFS and FM were poo-pooed as legitimate illnesses plus none of my doctors knew what was wrong with me. I did not go back to work due to my back pain and my decline due to CFS and FM. I did not apply for SSD due to the fact that I was married; my husband had a high income and I, therefore, didn't need the income. In 2000, I was finally, officially, diagnosed with CFS and FM.

In 1998, my husband filed for divorce. We were officially divorced in 2000. He was required to pay maintenance for a number of years but it is no longer enough to live on and I have not been able to return to work since 1989.

I am 61 years old. Would I eligible for SSD if I file now since I was disabled at the time I stopped working? I don't think I would be eligible for SSI since I do have assets.

Second question: I understand that I would be able to collect 1/2 of the SS retirement amount that my ex husband is entitled to since we were married more than 10 years. It will be much more than I am entitled to. I am 5 years older than he. Would I be able to collect 1/2 of the amount he is entitled to on the date that I become eligible for SS retirement or would I have to wait until he is eligible at the time he reaches 62 or would I have to wait until he actually files for his SS retirement? If he waits until 66, I will probably have one foot in the grave.

Thank you for any help you can give me and thank you so much for providing this service.

With regard to Social Security Disability, you may be able to file for disability benefits (see When should you File?). If you have never filed for disability then you may can file a claim.

You will have to provide medical information back to the date you were last insured for disability. if you stopped work in 1989, I would guess your date last insured would be 1993 or 1994. Most doctors destroy their records every so many years, so the burden of providing information would most likely be on you.

Additionally, you have one chance to file for Social Security Disability, so if you are denied you should appeal that decision all the way to the level of an ALJ or administrative law judge. I would also suggest that you obtain the services of a competent Social Security representative. They will file your appeals for you and they will represent you should you have to go to a disability hearing. They cannot charge an upfront fee or retainer. They are entitled to a fee that is 21% of any back payment of benefits up to $6000.00.

Disability claims with representation are substantially more likely to be approved than disability claims presented by the claimant themselves. Since you only have one chance, I would think you would want the best chance of being approved.

Now, as for retirement benefits on your ex-spouses record, you can receive divorce spouse benefits once your ex-spouse is 62 even if he does not file for benefits. Since you are five years older than he is, you will be able to file on his record when you are 67 years old. You are entitled to receive your own at 62 then when you are able to file on his record the amount will increase.

I hope this information helps you.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

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Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

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Social Security Disability SSI definitions

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Facts about Chronic fatigue and Filing for Disability
Diagnosed with cfs and fm, would i be eligible for SSD?
Fibromyalgia, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Chronic Fatigue, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What is qualifying for disability based on?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What are the SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children?
How Likely are You to Win Your Disability Case?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
Working while getting Disability - Is it Possible?
What is Social Security Back Pay?
What is the maximum back pay you can get for Social Security Disability?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

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