How To Use The Grids
Here are the specific grid rules for people who are aged 60 and older. Find the grid that describes your RFC . Next, find the row that describes your education level and your previous work experience. The final column will show the decision that Social Security will make based on the previous factors.
RFC for SEDENTARY WORK
Recent education or training for skilled work
Skilled or semiskilled work with or without transferable skills
It can be difficult to determine the skill level of your old job and whether any of the skills you learned can transfer to another position. If you are unsure about this, you should speak to an experienced disability attorney.
Can You Collect Social Security Retirement And Disability At The Same Time
In most cases, you cannot collect Social Security retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time. You may, however, qualify for Supplemental Security Income if you meet the strict financial criteria while drawing either Social Security retirement or SSDI benefits.
The Social Security Administration created the SSDI program to bridge the gap between when someone must leave the workforce due to a disability and when they can draw retirement benefits. For this reason, there is only one way to collect both retirement and SSDI at the same time.
Apply For Retirement Benefits
Starting your Social Security retirement benefits is a major step on your retirement journey. This page will guide you through the process of applying for retirement benefits when youre ready to take that step. Our online application is a convenient way to apply on your own schedule, without an appointment. You can also apply by phone or by appointment at a Social Security office.
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Can Early Retirement Impact Eligibility For Social Security Disability Benefits
Posted on behalf of Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham on in Social Security
If you work in your 60s and can no longer continue working for health-related reasons, you may be thinking about retiring early and filing for Social Security retirement benefits. Would this be the best route to take or should you consider applying for Social Security disability benefits instead?
Sigman Janssen further explain early retirement and disability benefits and how they impact one another. If you need help getting the benefits you need, call to request a free consultation.
Is Disability Retirement My Best Option
Even if you have a disability that is likely to be permanent, you do not have to retire on disability. If you qualify for service retirement, you may find this option would better meet your retirement needs, particularly if you qualify for the hazardous duty supplement, which is not payable to members who retire on disability.
Before submitting a disability retirement application, compare your estimated disability retirement benefit with your estimated service retirement benefit. Your human resource office can assist you with benefit estimates. You can also create benefit estimates through myVRS. Log in or create a secure myVRS online account.
Select Applying for Disability Retirement from the key topics in the right column for more information about service retirement pending approval of disability retirement.
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Difference Between Early Retirement And Disability Benefits
If born before 1954, you would be eligible for your full retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration . The full retirement age is 66 years old and increases gradually if born between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are issued at 67 years old.
The SSA allows you to obtain retirement benefits as early as 62 years old. Should you decide to collect early retirement benefits, your benefits would be less than if you had waited until you reached full retirement age. Should you stop working before turning 62 years old, your benefit amount will likely be reduced because of the years when you were unable to earn an income.
If you can no longer work due to a physical or mental impairment before reaching full retirement age, you may be able to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. These disability benefits would equal your full retirement amount.
Will Converting To Retirement Benefits Affect Your Health Insurance
Anyone who is approved for SSDI benefits will be eligible for Medicare after a period of 24 months. At this time, you are eligible for Medicare Part A at no cost. Medicare Part A, also known as hospital insurance, pays for inpatient hospital care and certain other services.
You can also enroll in other types of coverage, including Medicare Part B, or medical insurance. Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, home health care, certain preventative services, and services provided by doctors. However, you will be required to pay a monthly premium for Part B and other types of Medicare coverage.
You will not lose this health insurance coverage once your SSDI benefits are converted to retirement benefits. This conversion will not affect your health insurance coverage.
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Plan And Budget Carefully
While every case is different, it can take some time for your Social Security benefits to be approved. This is true regardless of if you are applying for retirement benefits, disability benefits, or something else.
If you dont plan carefully for a potentially long wait, you may be like the many people who lose their savings, cars, retirement funds, and even their homes.
You should work to reduce how much you are spending as you wait for the approval.
While you are waiting to learn if you are going to begin receiving benefits, you may find it challenging to make ends meet. As a result, its a good idea to begin practicing new spending habits. You need to take some time to reassess your purchasing decisions and your budget.
Keep in mind both retirement and disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are going to put food on your table and help you retain your livelihood they arent going to replace the full salary you once earned.
Making this transition is going to require some lifestyle adjustments . Think about finding out if there are any organizations in your community that can provide assistance with housing, utilities, and food.
Many Early Retirees Collect Ssdi When They Can No Longer Work
Many people who retire early because of health problems in their 50s and early 60s may be eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance program. It does not matter whether you already get a company retirement benefit, long-term disability payments, or worker’s compensation benefits. You have a reasonable chance of approval if your health problems contributed to your decision to retire early or even if your health problems started or worsened after retirement. The Social Security Administration will require that you:
- are working at levels below the SGA level
- have disabling health problems that have lasted or will last at least 12 months, and
- are still insured for the SSDI disability program.
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The Disability Freeze Limits How Much The Ssa Penalizes You For Years You Dont Work Or Pay Fica Taxes
The disability freeze rule means the SSA ignores all months you received SSDI when computing your retirement or survivors benefits. This prevents any years you didnt work from counting towards your regular Social Security, so your payments wont be lower. The disability freeze also applies to anyone who got well enough to start working again after drawing SSDI benefits. If you apply for early retirement instead of SSDI, the disability freeze rule cannot protect your Social Security payments.
Can I Receive Disability And Retirement Benefits At The Same Time
Many people wonder if it is possible to double their benefits by receiving both disability and retirement benefits at the same time. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. Even when someone is eligible to receive both, it does not mean they will be able to double-dip and receive full payment from both sources instead, retirement and disability payments will be combined to bring you up to your full benefit amount.
Those who are receiving SSDI benefits will automatically have their benefits converted into retirement benefits once they reach the retirement age of 65. You will still receive the same amount, and no extra steps are needed for this to happen. Becoming disabled after reaching your full retirement age does not make you eligible to receive SSDI benefits.
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You Are Automatically Eligible For Medicare Coverage After You Receive Ssdi Payments For 24 Months
Most people cannot get Medicare coverage until they turn 65 years old. But once you get SSDI payments for two years in a row, that rule no longer applies. If health problems stop you from working, applying for SSDI can give you Medicare access much earlier. But if you apply for early retirement, Medicare remains off-limits until after you turn 65.
What We Mean By Disability
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if all of the following are true:
- You cannot do work that you did before because of your medical condition.
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.
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Service Credit For Workers’ Compensation
If you are on leave without pay receiving workers’ compensation and retirement contributions are not being withheld from your workers’ compensation payment, you may be eligible to purchase up to 24 months of service credit for this period of time. You must purchase this service before you retire on disability. For more information, contact your human resource office.
What Happens To My Disability Benefits When I Reach Retirement Age
Once you successfully get approved for disability benefits, your monthly benefits should stay the same unless your disability improves, you start engaging in Substantial Gainful Employment , or you have a spouse whose income surpasses SSDI threshold levels. You can even continue to work part-time on disability or try out other options like a trial work period to see if youre able to fully transition back into the workforce.
Making the switch from receiving disability payments to retirement benefits is simplebecause for most beneficiaries, their monthly benefit stays exactly the same. This is because the SSA calculates your SSDI benefits as though you have already reached full retirement age, which is equal to 100% of your maximum benefit based on your lifetime earnings.
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
When Can I Apply
There are no minimum requirements for age or service under VRS disability retirement. You can apply from the first day of employment or within 90 days of your last day of employment. If you are on leave without pay, you have up to 24 consecutive months on leave without pay to apply for disability retirement after 24 months, you are no longer eligible to apply. If you are on active duty military leave, you can apply at any time while on military leave, even if it exceeds 24 months.
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Risks Of Working When Applying For Benefits
You need to earn a living, and it can take a long time to get approved for benefits. However, if your case is not cut and dry , you may want to think twice about working when you apply for benefits. While technically, making under $1,310 per month is okay, if it takes you more than a few hours week to earn this amount, and a claims examiner or judge sees that you are able to perform the work, they may be less likely to believe that your medical condition is so functionally limiting that you are totally disabled. On appeal, for instance, a judge may think that if you can work a somewhat demanding job part-time, perhaps you can work full time at an easy job. Or a judge may think that you are working part time only because you cant find full-time work, not because of a medical condition. For these reasons, some disability lawyers advise their clients to not work at all while they await a decision.
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Understand The Two Gotcha Questions
When you are applying for Social Security benefits, there are two questions that seem to confuse individuals. These include:
- If you are eligible to receive a retirement benefit and a spouses benefit, would you want to delay the receipt of your retirement benefit?
- When do you want your benefits to start?
There are many people who are confused by the initial question. They dont know they are eligible for multiple benefits, and others dont understand the question at all.
Keep in mind, this question only applies to individuals who are considered eligible to restrict the applications cope to spousal benefits only, or what some call filing a restricted application. This is something that only applies to individuals who were born before January 1st, 1954.
Individuals who only want to receive spousal benefits need to answer yes to this question. If you respond with no, then your own benefits are going to start.
The second gotcha question is pre-populated with the earliest date you can begin receiving benefits. If you begin to fill out the application four months before you want your benefits to begin, then you need to change the date in the field.
If you have created a strategy to claim your benefits, especially if it is coordinating retirement and spousal benefits, entering the wrong date may cost thousands of dollars or more, and ruin the strategy.
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What Happens If The Adult Child Gets Married
If he or she receives benefits as a disabled “adult child,” the benefits generally end if he or she gets married. However, some marriages are considered protected.
The rules vary depending on the situation. Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the benefits can continue.
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
An Example Of The Fers
Thus, by way of example: Hypothetical Annuitant A: A former Postal worker made $55,000.00 per year Thus, in the first year, he receives $33,000 as his FERS annuity , and in the second year, $22,000 as his FERS annuity . Rounding off the numbers to simplify, lets say that it comes to around $3,000 per month for the first year, then $2,000 per month for the subsequent years. The former Postal worker also gets SSDI approved, and the amount comes to $2,000 per month.
How does the offset work? Well, as SSDI is primary, the Postal worker would receive $2,000 from Social Security the first year, and $1,000 from his FERS annuity , and in the second and subsequent years, he would receive $2,000 from Social Security and $800.00 from FERS . If Annuitant A works at a private-sector job and makes $1,000 per month, all well and good for, that amount would not exceed the threshold for either the FERS Disability Retirement annuity nor the SSDI allowable amount. If, however, he goes out and makes $2,000 per month, or some higher amount that violates the allowable threshold for Social Security, then he will lose the SSDI benefit, and any prior offset with FERS will be recalculated to allow for the full annuity.
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Calculating Your Benefit Amount
The formula for calculating your Social Security benefits and your Disability benefits is exactly the same right up until the very end. Well get into how it diverges in the next section, but for now, well focus on the shared process.
The first step is calculating your average indexed monthly earnings . The Social Security Administration will take your 35 highest-earning years into consideration. For each of those years, it will index your income for inflation and include it up to the taxable maximum . For tax year 2020, this point is $137,700.
Next, the SSA will add up these totals and divide to get your AIME. If you have more than 35 earning years, your lowest years will be excluded. If you have less, the SSA will include a $0 in the calculation for every year youre short.
The last step is to calculate your primary insurance amount from your AIME. To calculate your PIA, the SSA will take a percentage of three different chunks of your AIME. The exact amount of these portions will differ slightly depending on the year you become disabled or turn 62. If you do either in 2021 the SSA will take 90% of your first $996, 32% of the amount between that and $6,002 and 15% of anything that remains. The total is your PIA.