Will Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits Affect Retirement Benefits?
Social Security offers two main sources of benefits: disability and retirement benefits. Each has different requirements. For example, to receive retirement benefits, you must be at least 62 years old and have earned 40 work credits. To receive your full retirement benefits, though, you must be at least 70 years old.
When it comes to receiving Social Security Disability benefits, the focus is not so much on your age, but your degree of disability. While you still need work credits, the amount needed depends on your age. You will need to have a disability that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
So what happens if you’re at or near retirement age and also disabled? Should you just opt for an early retirement or apply for disability benefits first?
Are You Disabled?
It can be difficult to meet Social Security’s definition of disabled. Your condition must be severe enough to last a year or longer and must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, standing, or lifting. If you have memory problems, those would qualify as well.
The next step is to see if the medical condition is on the Social Security Administration’s list. The list contains severe medical conditions for each of the major body systems. However, if the condition is not on the list, the Social Security Administration will have to determine if your condition is severe enough to be a disability.
Are You Disabled and About to Retire?
Social Security Disability benefits are based on your full retirement age benefit amount. If you are awarded disability benefits, it would not affect this benefit amount. SSDI benefits will actually convert to regular Social Security retirement benefits when you reach the full retirement age. FRA.
If your doctor can provide documentation that you are in fact totally disabled and expected to remain so for 12 months or longer, apply online to establish a disability onset date. Keep in mind that most Social Security Disability applications are denied the first time around. If this happens, you can always file an appeal.
Another option is to claim your early Social Security retirement benefit at the same time you apply for disability benefits. This will help provide income while waiting for your disability benefits to arrive. If you are approved for disability benefits, the disability benefit will then replace the retirement benefit. The higher amount for the disability benefits will automatically become your retirement amount when you reach the full retirement age. There is some risk involved, though, because if disability benefits are denied, the reduced SS retirement benefit will become your permanent benefit amount.
Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to receiving disability and retirement benefits, especially when a person is disabled and old enough to receive retirement benefits.
Are you receiving the benefits you are entitled to receive? White Plains Social Security disability lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help you understand your eligibility to ensure you maximize your benefits. To schedule a consultation, call 914-294-2145 or fill out the online form.