Social Security Disability Freeze in West Virginia

Being injured isn’t exactly something you can plan for. Accidents that can leave you disabled and unable to work happen all the time. If you are worried about your Social Security retirement benefits being affected because you aren’t able to work, you don’t have to be. Consult with a Social Security Disability attorney today.

When you are unable to work due to a period of disability, it makes sense that you are going to end up with gaps in your work history. A disability freeze can help prevent your future retirement benefits from being reduced for something that is out of your control, regardless of whether you have little to no earnings.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution to put an end to all of the confusion and chaos. The Social Security Administration (SSA) created what is referred to as a disability freeze. Essentially, this freeze ignores periods of disability and ensures your eligibility for future Social Security benefits.

Who Can Get a Disability Freeze?

Just because a disability freeze is an option for some doesn’t mean everyone is eligible to receive it. There are certain rules and stipulations that you have to meet to be able to have it applied to your account.

If you cannot meet the criteria outlined by the SSA, you won’t receive a Social Security Disability freeze. As a result, you could end up losing out on your total benefit payment each month. If you are interested in finding out whether you can receive a freeze or not, see if you meet the criteria outlined below.

To get a freeze from the SSA, you have to:

  • File for disability benefits within 12 months of when your disability has ended
  • Have insured status for the Social Security Disability Insurance program
  • Be blind or disabled as defined by SSA

In the event you do not meet the criteria above, you will not be eligible for the freeze to be placed on your account. It is important to discuss the option for a disability freeze with the Social Security Administration. They can help you determine your eligibility and make sure you do not end up losing out on benefits that you deserve.

Can You Get a Freeze Even if You Don’t Get Disability Payments?

Just because you aren’t receiving a disability payment every month doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be able to get the freeze put on your account. If you end up applying for benefits down the line, the SSA will end up accounting for the time that you were disabled when determining how much your benefit is going to be.

This means that all of that time that you were disabled and unable to work will be taken into consideration and credited back to you. As a result, you could end up getting even more paid out to you every month.

If you aren’t getting a benefit payment each month, you may still be eligible to get a freeze provided that:

  • You are considered statutorily blind and are still able to work.
  • You are incarcerated under certain conditions.
  • Your earnings are from serving in the military or working as a railroad professional.

Is a Freeze Still Available if the Disability Began Years Ago?

Many people are worried that their Social Security Disability benefits aren’t going to be eligible for a freeze. Just because your disability started back two, three, or even five years ago doesn’t mean there aren’t options available to make sure your benefits are protected at all times.

As long as you are able to prove that your disability started prior to the date that you were last insured for benefits, you can get your benefits frozen. Don’t ever assume that you don’t have a way to take control of your benefits. Go over what you can do to get your benefits frozen and prevent losing out on what you worked for over the years.

Is it Possible to Get a Disability Freeze when Collecting SSI?

If you are only collecting SSI benefits, you are not eligible for a disability freeze. The reasoning behind this is that a freeze is directly related to how much a person earned.

This means that only those receiving SSDI can get the freeze placed on their account. Since this can be a little confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out all of the specifics involved, you might want to talk with a specialist who can look over your record and determine what you are eligible to receive or not.

Applying for a Social Security Disability Freeze and SSDI vs Retiring Early

Making the decision to apply for SSDI or apply for early retirement can be difficult. As long as you worked and paid enough taxes, you are eligible to apply for early retirement through the SSA at age 62.

Keep in mind, early retirement pays less than what you would receive at your full retirement age, and this reduced amount is what you’ll continue to receive unless you apply and are approved for SSDI benefits. However, you can apply for both early retirement and SSDI at the same time.

By doing so, you can receive your early retirement payments while going through the lengthy disability process. If you eventually are awarded SSDI benefits, your monthly award will typically increase slightly. The SSDI benefit is basically allowing you to receive full retirement pay at an earlier age.

It is important to look at your financial situation to decide if you should apply for early retirement benefits in order to meet your basic needs and wants. The best thing you can do is to speak to someone who can help walk you through the whole process and ensure you get the results you desire. This will save you a lot of hassles and headaches down the line and prevent losing out on something you deserve.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
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