Q. My wife retired nine years ago at age 62. She has since become disabled. Can she file for disability benefits? If so, how does she go about it?

A. Disability Insurance is available only to wage earners who have not yet reached full retirement age.

In effect, Social Security Disability Insurance is an early retirement benefit for persons no longer able to work due to severe disabilities. When full retirement age is reached, a disability benefit automatically converts to a retirement benefit. Monthly checks continue unchanged.