If you are a worker in your 60s and are unable to keep working due to health issues, you may be considering early retirement and filing for Social Security retirement benefits. Is this the best way to go, or should you file for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) instead?
The Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers at Schmidt Kramer discuss early retirement and disability benefits, as well as the impact they have on each other. If you need assistance with your disability benefits claim, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Early Retirement verses Disability Benefits
For individuals born prior to 1954, the SSA’s full retirement age is 66 years old. The full retirement age goes up incrementally for those born between 1955 and 1959, with those born in 1960 or later having a full retirement age at 67 years old.
The SSA does allow early retirement benefits to be drawn as early as age 62. If you choose to collect early retirement benefits, your benefits will be less than if you had waited until full retirement age. If you stop working before age 62, the years without earnings will likely result in a lower benefit when you retire.
If you must stop working before full retirement age, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI). SSDI benefits equal the same amount as what would be paid at full retirement age.
Can I Collect Social Security Retirement and Disability Benefits at the Same Time?
The SSA does not usually allow a person to draw both retirement and disability benefits at the same time. If you receive SSDI, the SSA will automatically start paying your retirement benefits once you reach full retirement age. Your disability benefits will end at this point.
One exception exists allowing individuals to collect retirement and disability benefits at the same time. This exception is rare, and you will not be allowed to collect benefits higher than the full retirement amount.
If you choose to draw early retirement benefits between the early and full retirement age, then are approved for SSDI benefits, you are able to draw both. The early retirement plus disability benefits will equal the full retirement amount, but not more.
This scenario could occur if you choose to draw early retirement benefits after leaving work due to illness or injury, then are later approved for SSDI. Retroactive SSDI benefits may also be awarded, giving you full retirement benefit amounts for the months you were disabled but SSDI benefits were not yet approved.
How Can A Disability Attorney Help Me?
If you choose to draw early retirement benefits and your SSDI claim is denied, this could cause you to draw less in retirement benefits for the remainder of your life. A skilled disability attorney may be able to help you appeal your SSDI denial to pursue these benefits.
Deciding which route to take can be difficult – it is best to consult an experienced disability attorney to discuss your options. An attorney will help you put together a strong application for disability benefits using the right evidence. He or she will answer your questions and advise you of the options available to you for SSA benefit programs.
Contact Our Legal Team for Assistance
If you are unable to work before full retirement age, contact our dedicated team of attorneys to secure the benefits you deserve from the SSA. We will review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options to pursue any benefits you may be eligible for.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees for our services. Expenses are only due if we recover compensation for you.