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Will my benefits increase because I became disabled while collecting early Social Security Retirement benefits?

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Learn how, depending on your age, you can get a higher Social Security benefit if you become disabled while receiving Social Security Retirement benefits.


Watch the Video: “Will my benefits increase because I became disabled while collecting early Social Security Retirement benefits?”

Disability during Early Retirement

If you become disabled while receiving Social Security early retirement benefits, whether or not you receive an increase in benefits depends on when you become disabled. Social Security does not pay disability benefits for the first five full calendar months of disability, so you would not get an increase during those months. You would receive an increase in the sixth month if the sixth month is before your Normal Retirement month.

Social Security Normal Retirement Age

For many decades full retirement age was sixty-five. In recent years, the Social Security Normal Retirement Age was increased. The increase is being phased in so that, depending on the year you were born, normal retirement age is sixty-six with future retirees born in later years having to reach sixty-six and a half or sixty-seven for full retirement. The gradual increase in age has been put in place because people are living longer and the Social Security Administration needs to reduce its financial obligation.

If you don’t know your Social Security Normal Retirement Age, you can find out by calling the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or by looking it up on their website, www.socialsecurity.gov. If you become disabled more than twenty-nine months before your Normal Retirement Age, you will become eligible for Medicare before your full retirement age. Our article (I-11) “If I Am Approved for Social Security Disability, Will I Get Medicare and Medicaid Heath Insurance?” offers more information about entitlement to Medicare health insurance.

Tips for Counting Your Disability Benefit Waiting Period

Here are two tips for counting the unpaid disability waiting period. First, the month in which you become disabled does not count as one of the five unpaid months. The second tip is an exception to the first rule: If you become disabled on the first or second day of a calendar month, Social Security will count the month you became disabled as part of the unpaid waiting period.

Social Security Retirement after Disability

If you receive disability benefits after receiving reduced early Retirement benefits, when you reach your Social Security Normal Retirement Age, there will be another change in your benefit amount. At that time, the Social Security Administration will switch you back to Social Security Retirement and your ongoing benefit typically will be less than your disability benefit, but more than your earlier reduced retirement benefit.

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  1. Betsy Crowe says:

    I began drawing disability in 2009 at the age of 59. When I turn 66 will my disability become social security? And if so will my benefit from social security be less than my current disability benefit?
    Thank you.
    Betsy Crowe

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Betsy,

      If the disability benefit you are receiving is Social Security Disability, then your benefit will automatically become Social Security Retirement (SSR) benefits and will continue in the same amount.

      If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will need to apply for Social Security Retirement. You can do this up to three months before your sixty-sixth birthday. The amount you will receive will depend on your Social Security earnings record. Your SSI will either be reduced or terminated, depending upon the amount of your SSR. Your total income will not be less than you are currently getting from SSI at that time.



  2. danham says:

    My SSDI was offset by a workers comp settlement for a term of 25 years, but after a divorce, 2000 dot com crash, and then the 2008 crash the settlement is gone. Can my SSDI be updated to reflect the lack of any settlement? Would it be updated at for the income i had at the time I was disabled? Or will it be my lack of income today?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Danham,

      I believe that you will not be able to get an adjustment in your Social Security due to loss of assets derived from a workers comp award. The offset (reduction) in Social Security is based on the amount you received, not on the amount you have left at a later point in time related to adverse investments or other financial events. Of course, always check with the Social Security Administration to be sure of your rights.



  3. Joan Gibbs says:

    I began receiving early retirement at age 62 1/2 and became disabled last year at age 65, 8 months. Would I be able to receive any social security disability? Thank you.

  4. william alleñ says:

    I received ssdi and worker compensation,I am 63 , under Michigan law will there be a offset of my workers compensation at age 65 or 66 , and if so how much?I started workers compensation benefits at age 56.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear William,

      The worker’s compensation offset will end when your Social Security benefits are converted to Social Security Retirement benefits at your full retirement age, which is age sixty-six and six months if you were born in 1957.



  5. karl says:

    Kay: I lost my job in May 2010 and new I would not be able to get another because of disability. I was unaware of the Social Security disability requirements. I took early retirement in February 2012 (age 62) because I needed the income. A doctor informed me in late 2013 that I should qualify for disability. I applied and was approved in April 2014, but they established the disability onset date as 1/1/2013.

    Where does that leave my payment, and can I appeal the onset date to get full disability/Social Security?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karl,

      The current decision will result in an increase in benefits from your current reduced retirement beginning June 2013. You will be paid the difference between the two benefits for the retroactive period and will receive just disability benefits until you reach your full retirement age.

      You do have the right to appeal the onset date. If you do, I would suggest that you request a copy of your claim file so that you can tailor your appeal to the reasons that the disability examiner stated for your not being disabled before January 2013 (insufficient records, records don’t support disability, etc.)



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