Does Disability Pay More Than Social Security
Applying for Disability benefits has a reputation as a time-consuming and inefficient process. Consequently, many people entering their 60s who could potentially qualify for disability benefits may opt to just elect for Social Security a couple of years early to avoid the hassle. However, this strategy has the potential to cost you a lot of money in the long run. Whether opting for disability would be the more remunerative strategy will depend on your age. A financial advisor could help you weigh the best options for your retirement goals.
To be clear, when we say Disability, we mean Social Security Disability Insurance. If we say Social Security, were referring to Social Security Retirement Benefits. Additionally, the analysis presented here is based on the assumption that you are eligible to begin receiving either of these benefits, and therefore are at least 62 years old. If youre younger than that, youre not eligible to begin receiving Social Security benefits. In this case, your only option is to take disability.
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.
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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The Early Retirement And Disability Decision
Determining the timing for when to retire can often be a difficult decision and it becomes even more challenging when the individual is dealing with a medical condition that interferes with their ability to work. Most people are aware of the retirement benefits that are available to workers who have paid into Social Security, including retirement benefits between ages 65 and 67, as well as early retirement benefits at a reduced rate at age 62, but often folks who retire during that age range overlook the option of filing for Social Security disability benefits, as well.
If you have a physical or mental condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months and prevents you from being able to maintain work on a consistent basis, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. When getting ready to retire between the ages of 62 and 66, you may want to consider whether you should also file an application for disability benefits. Social Security allows you to simultaneously file for disability and early retirement benefits, as early as three months before your 62nd birthday. By doing so, you can start to collect your early retirement benefits while your disability application is being adjudicated. If your claim for disability benefits is approved after you start receiving early retirement benefits, you will be eligible to receive your full SSDI benefit amount.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits
If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Should I Retire Early Or Apply For Social Security Disability
If you are having health problems that have made working impossible and you are nearing the age of 62, you may think deciding to retire early may be the best option.
However, you need to look at the overall picture and determine whether early retirement or applying for Social Security disability would be the best option in your given situation. The Social Security Administration has very specific guideline regarding retirement benefits and disability benefits.
Do Social Security Disability Benefits Change At Age 62
To learn how age impacts Social Security disability benefits, it helps to understand the eligibility criteria and the programs available.
How The Social Security Administration Defines Disability
When the SSA reviews your claim for disability benefits, the key factor is whether or not you are able to work to support yourself and provide for your family. This is the basis for how the SSA defines total disability, which is the only type of disability allowed under the program. Neither partial nor short-term disability meet the criteria. The SSA expects that people will be prepared for such emergencies through short-term disability insurance, workers compensation or personal savings. The determination of total disability hinges on whether or not you can perform the same work as before, if the work can be adjusted to accommodate the condition, and the projected duration of the disability.
SSI vs. SSDI
There are two types of disability programs administered by the SSA: Social Security Disability Insurance program and Supplemental Security Income program. To be eligible for SSDI, the applicant needs to have worked and earned enough credits to qualify for disability benefits. Credits are earned by working and paying Social Security taxes. This is different than SSI, a program where the applicant must demonstrate a financial need in addition to meeting the disability criteria. Those below age 19 would apply for SSI because children would not have yet accrued credits for working.
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Contact A Social Security Disability Attorney For Assistance
If you need assistance applying for or appealing a denial of SSDI benefits, turn to the experienced Social Security disability attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett for help. Our team has over 125 years of combined legal experience, so we have the resources and legal knowledge that it takes to get results for our clients. Let us stand by your side and lead the fight to secure the SSDI benefits you deserve.
Take the first step toward obtaining the benefits you need by contacting us today. Schedule a free consultation regarding your case by calling 877-728-9653 or filling out the form on this website now.
What If Youre Still Not Ready To Go Back To Work
If youre on short-term disability, your benefits will end when your predetermined time period is over or when you return to workwhichever comes first. But what if youve already maxed out your short-term disability benefits and you still cant head back into the office?
Lets return to our example of missing out on work for major back surgery. Your doctor determined that youd need six months to fully recover, and your short-term disability plan approved you for that amount of time.
However, you had some pretty significant complications with your surgery and your recovery. As the end of those six months draw near, its evident that you arent physically capable of sitting at a desk for eight hours each daythis is a problem that will plague you for a lot longer, perhaps even permanently. Now what? Are you just out of luck?
If you have long-term disability benefits, it should be straightforward enough to transition into those benefits if you meet the new definition of disability for your long-term plan. The definition for disability under a long-term plan is typically subtly different than the definition for short-term disability.
Some insurers require new paperwork from the claimant and new medical records before they will begin paying a long-term disability benefit, says McDonald.
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How Much Work Do You Need
In addition to meeting our definition of disability, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.
The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year. In 2021, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $5,880, you’ve earned your four credits for the year.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
For more information on whether you qualify, refer to How You Earn Credits.
Benefits For Disabled Widows Or Widowers
If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets the definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, if they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
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Resign Or Retire Is One Better Than The Other
A federal employee may be eligible to retire but decide to resign instead. Their paycheck ceases, and their retirement doesnt start until they file for retirement benefits. Its not a common occurrence but here are some situations in which a federal employee, who is eligible to retire, may decide to resign:
- He/she wants to work for a different federal agency but not continue with their current employment while seeking the new position.
- There is an interest in moving to a new state or different country and they are seeking reemployment afterward.
- He/she wants to prevent an ex-spouse from receiving a court-ordered share of their retirement benefit, even though that keeps the employee from receiving their own share of the benefit.
So, why do this? Why not simply retire and get the benefit? There are several different reasons.
Once you voluntarily retire and then become reemployed in federal service, you are considered a reemployed annuitant. This may mean an offset to your salary in the amount of your retirement benefit, so youd only be receiving the difference between your salary and your benefit.
Having new service added to your retirement requires at least a one-year commitment to reemployment and having your retirement recomputed would require 5 years of additional service. However, there are exceptions to this salary offset:
Help From An Indianasocial Security Disability Attorney
An Indiana disability attorney can help you determine which Social Security program is best for you. They can listen to your specific situation and outline the options you have.
Call Hensley Legal Group or contact us online for a free conversation about your potential claim.
Did you decide to file for disability benefits? Be sure to download our ebook, Eight Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Disability.
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Can I Receive Social Security Disability And Retirement Benefits
In most cases, you cannot receive Social Security disability and retirement benefits at the same time, since SSDI benefits are meant for those who cannot work due to injury or illness. If youre receiving retirement benefits, it is already implicit that you are no longer working. There is one exception to this rule, however.
If you take an early retirement at age 62 before applying for disability benefits, and are later found to have been eligible for disability during that time, the Social Security Administration will make up the difference between your early retirement benefits and your monthly disability benefits for those months that you received early retirement payments. Of course, youll have to submit adequate documentation that you took an early retirement because of your disabling condition.
Its also worth noting that some individuals can draw monthly benefits from more than one Social Security program. For example, you may be able to qualify for both SSI and SSDI or retirement and SSI.
Do I Qualify For The Exception To This Rule Can I Draw Both Ssdi And Retirement
There is one exception that allows qualified individuals to draw both retirement and SSDI benefits at the same time, but this is rare and still does not allow them to collect more than their full retirement benefit.
This occurs when someone opts for early retirement between age 62 and their full retirement age, but is then approved for SSDI benefits. Some people set themselves up for this by filing for early retirement after an injury or illness caused them to have to quit work. They can begin receiving early retirement to help them cover bills until their SSDI claim receives approval and the waiting period for those benefits expires.
Once this happens, they can begin receiving additional money from the SSA each month on top of their early retirement benefits. This will bring them to their full retirement benefit amount. They are also most likely qualified for retroactive benefits, which will bring them to their full retirement amount for any month they suffered a disability but were not yet approved for SSDI.
This can backfire on some people, however. If you apply for early retirement but do not receive approval for your SSDI claim, you may be stuck drawing a smaller amount of retirement for the rest of your life. If this happened to you, we may be able to help you in appealing the SSDI denial. You only have 60 days to file this appeal, however, so contact us as soon as possible after you receive a denial.
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The Social Security Disability Application Process
You can start the Social Security disability application process online. If you prefer, you can visit your local SSA office and start the application in person by meeting with an employee face-to-face. Because of the complexity of a disability claim, an advocate or an attorney can be very beneficial in helping you win your case. You should speak with an attorney before you officially start the application.
Most claims are denied at first, and many go all the way to an administrative law judge for a ruling. However, those who have enlisted the assistance of an advocate or attorney are much more likely to have their disability claim for benefits approved.
Normal Retirement Bybirth Year
You can view the Social Security Administrations retirement age calculator here.
Currently, those born before 1938 can retire at 65. Thoseborn between 19431954 can retire at 66, and those born after 1960 can retireat age 67.
There are a lot of years missing in those ranges. If youreborn in 1956, for example, when can you retire?
People born in between the ranges of time listed above donot retire at a round number of years. Instead, they have had their retirementages increased by a number of months.
A person born in 1956, for example, can retire at 66 and 4months.
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.
How It Works Ifyoure Approved For Disability
For example, lets say you become disabled and have to quityour job in January 2014.
You begin receiving early retirement benefits of $750 amonth, but then you decide to apply for disability.
Two years later, in January 2016, you are approved fordisability. Your benefit is $1,000 a month.
Social Security knows you were on early retirement and looksat when your disability began. They determine that you were considered disabledas of January 2014 right when you lost your job in the first place.
Therefore, Social Security will reimburse you the $250 amonth extra you should have received through all of 2014 and 2015. Youll receive $6,000 in what is known as back pay.
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