Disability benefits are provided when individuals become disabled prior to retirement age. Older clients sometimes ask whether they can apply for and receive disability and retirement benefits at the same time. Generally, individuals may not simultaneously receive both FULL retirement benefits and FULL disability benefits. But there is an exception.
Both retirement benefits and disability benefits serve the purpose of providing some financial support to individuals who can no longer work. One might characterize disability benefits as early retirement benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is exactly this, retirement benefits for those who are unable to work because of some disabling condition, and too young to receive actual retirement benefits. Disability claimants collecting SSDI will have these benefits converted to retirement benefits when they reach retirement age.
The exception is for individuals who take early retirement, which is possible at age 62, before the time they are first approved for disability benefits. Upon receiving an award of disability benefits after they have started to receive early retirement benefits, Social Security will provide the difference between the amount of early retirement benefits and the full amount of disability benefits for those months the individual was disabled but receiving early retirement benefits. This is not double benefits, but rather a combination of such to raise the amount a person is receiving to their full benefit amount.
TIP: most early retirement applications have a specific question as to whether you are disabled. Be careful how your answer and think this through. It is not fatal to a disability case, but it does not make such a case any easier.
If you have questions about applying for disability or early retirement benefits, contact the Sullivan Law Office today by calling 888-587-0228 or visiting us online! We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you.