Once you are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, you can no longer receive disability payments. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is essentially a form of early retirement.
The purpose of disability benefits is to provide cash assistance to those who are too ill or injured to work but too young to retire. You become eligible for benefits by earning sufficient work credits and providing evidence of an impairment that prevents you from working.
Once you reach full retirement age, you’ll no longer receive disability payments. Instead, you will receive your Social Security retirement. This benefit will not be less than your disability payment and could potentially be higher. You will also enjoy the added bonus of no longer being subject to periodic disability reviews.
No action is required on your part when you reach full retirement age. Your benefits will automatically be converted by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Deciding Which Program to Apply For
If you’re not currently receiving disability but are over 60 and in poor health, you may wonder if it makes more sense to apply for disability or to accept the permanently reduced Social Security benefits that come with early retirement. In most cases, it is better to receive disability benefits until you reach full retirement age.
If you collect early retirement, your benefits are permanently reduced. If you receive SSDI payments until you reach full retirement age, there is no permanent reduction in your retirement benefits. A disability freeze means your lack of earned income while receiving disability is not calculated when determining your full Social Security retirement benefit.
In very limited cases, it is possible to use early retirement to fill in the gap between application and approval of disability benefits. However, this strategy is risky. If you are not approved for disability, you’ll be left with reduced benefits permanently. It is easier to be approved for disability after age 60, but that does not mean benefits are guaranteed.
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.