Answered on Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:42 PM
I will assume your age is 62 although not stated in the question. One must be careful with "advice" given from someone at the Social Security Administration. Most workers at SSA are competent, helpful and always mean well. However, with the telecenters, consistency in answers isn't always possible, or accurate, and some of the newer workers, if in person, may not know of all of the intricacies of the rules.
It is unclear to me why you didn't apply for disability with SSA regarding the June 1997 finding referenced in your question, unless you simply didn't meet SSA's definition, or you were able to work in some capacity.
If you apply for disability now (age 62), you will have an offset if granted Social Security Disability benefits unless your benefits are exempt from offset. See the information from SSA's website "How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits."
There is an excellent tip about the situation of one on disability approaching retirement which was first given to me and others at a seminar about 20 years ago by Peter Young. The advice can be found at Rib Dib Election
No attorney-client relationship has been established because of the information provided. Seek local counsel to address your particular facts. MJHJ