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You can’t receive Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits at the same time (with one small exception, which we’ll discuss below). The Social Security disability program exists to provide disability benefits to those who are unable to work as a result of their conditions and who are too young to draw their retirement benefits. In this sense, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) can be thought of as a retirement benefit for those who are forced to retire early. If you do collect SSDI disability benefits, you will be converted to retirement benefits when you reach full retirement age.
In addition, you would get the benefit of the disability freeze, which means that your lack of income due to disability is not counted when calculating your Socal Security retirement payment from your earnings record.
However, if you were collecting early retirement benefits before Social Security says you were disabled, Social Security will not pay you the difference between your disability payment and the early retirement payment, and you would be paid at a less-than-full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Similarly, if Social Security denied your disability claim outright, you would continue to receive early retirement payments at the early retirement rate for the rest of your life.
While some people who quit work at age 62 purposefully apply for disability and elect early retirement at the same time, so that the early retirement payments fill the gap until the disability payments start, remember that there is no guarantee you’ll be granted disability benefits, and you could be stuck collecting less than your full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Still, this can work for those people who are severely impaired and are sure that they will get disability benefits.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have more than 25 years of experience working with the SSA. We can tell you if you have a credible case and help you present it. It’s our job to help you make the right decisions. Contact us at 877.526.3457, jandils.com or fill our this form and we will get back to you shortly. Your first consultation is always free.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law