Retirement and SSD Benefits

by | Dec 8, 2015 | Lawyer


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For people who are nearing retirement age and feel they may have a disability, one major question arises: Can I receive social security retirement benefits and disability benefits through the SSA at the same time?

In almost all cases, you cannot apply for or receive disability benefits while also holding social security retirement benefits. Because the SSA’s benefits program exists to reward benefits to those who are unable to work due to the effects of a disability, it is rarely extended to people who have simply ceased working due to a mixture of age and the ability to draw retirement funds from their social security.

The only exception for this scenario is the “early retirement exception.” This occurs when an individual takes on early retirement benefits through the social security program, which can happen by the age of 62, before they are officially approved for social security disability benefits.

If the person becomes disabled before these early retirement benefits start, they may prove to be the exception stated above. When the individual in question ends up drawing less than a full month’s worth of the retirement benefits, and then becomes approved for disability benefits, the SSA will make up that difference between the full disability amount and the early retirement amount during those months (usually done retroactively.)

Here is an example scenario of this occurring: you are forced to quit work due to health issues, begin to collect your early retirement benefits, but then apply successfully for disability benefits. If this occurs and the SSA agrees that the disability began before you technically began receiving early retirement payments, they will pay that difference and adjust your situation. In this scenario, you will still be able to receive your full retirement benefits once reaching your original retirement age. When this occurs, the SSA views the situation as if you never actually received the early retirement benefits in the first place.

Knowing if you should go this route, or simply take early retirement benefits can be tricky. You should always consult both your trusted health and legal professionals before making any major decision. Depending on your disability, it’s expected effect on you/length of duration, and more, you may benefit from one path more than another.

Are you ready to determine what path is right for you, or do you need assistance in dealing with the above scenario? If so, contact the James Mitchell Brown team now to set up a free consultation!