From the Trenton Times: In applying for benefits, complications can work to your advantage. One of the questions on a Social Security retirement claim asks if you have recently been unable to work because of a disability. The government isn’t just trying to be nice by finding out how you’ve been feeling lately. That is a leading question that’s intended to find out if you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
If you are applying for early (i.e., reduced) retirement benefits, there is a big advantage to getting disability benefits instead. Social Security disability benefits pay the same rate as full retirement benefits.
For example, my wife is 62 and will receive a reduced retirement benefit that is a little less than 80 percent of her full benefit amount. However, had she been disabled and entitled to Social Security disability benefits, she would have received her full 100 percent retirement benefit. (You must have a severe disability that’s expected to last a year or longer in order to qualify for the higher disability rate.)