Thursday, March 14, 2013
SS Retirement or Disability?
If you are nearing the Social Security early retirement age of 62, and can no longer work because of a physical or mental condition, then you should consider applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) instead of simply taking early retirement. SSD benefits are paid at a higher "full retirement age" amount, rather than the early retirement amount. If you retire before 2016, there is a 25% difference
between early retirement benefits and full retirement age benefits.
There is no double dipping; you cannot receive both early retirement and SSD benefits. In essence, SSD is a retirement benefit for those who are forced to retire early because of a medical condition. SSD benefits are converted to retirement benefits at full retirement age. There is one exception. If you took early retirement, and then was approved for SSD, Social Security will make up the difference between the early retirement amount and the full disability amount for those months the individual was disabled but receiving early retirement benefits.
I was retained by a 61 year old former road maintenance worker. When he turned 62 he took early retirement. I just got him approved for SSD. Besides getting an increase in his monthly benefit, his insured status is frozen, which prevents his lack of income because of his disability from counting when calculating his Social Security retirement payment.