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

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  505 Comments

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

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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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505 Comments

  1. Teri says:

    My friend had disability retirement thru DOD and was told could add SSDI. After many years received notice from OPM that it was miscalculated over what he should have gotten. This left him getting radically less benefit and half taken to pay the debt leaving him at poverty level to loose his home, car, etc. If he takes a roommate as he appeals this will that put him in deeper risk. NH

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Teri,

      Your friend can take a roommate and it will not affect his benefits.It is possible that the overpayment determination is correct in that there is a limit of 80% of average monthly earnings that a person can receive from a government pension and Social Security. In addition to appealing, he can also request that the overpayment be collected at a lower rate per month and/or request waiver of repayment because the overpayment was not his fault and he cannot afford to repay. He can make all these requests simultaneously.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  2. Phil says:

    I am 64 and have been getting social security since 62. I work part time. At 63 I was hurt at work and have some permanent disability. Am I eligible for disability payments?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Phil,

      If you are unable to work and earn $1,130 gross per month, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If that is the case and it has been seventeen months or more since you were injured, you need to start the application this month to avoid loss of benefits. If approved, your SSD benefit before any offsets would be increased and you could get Medicare earlier than age sixty five.

      One thing to consider before applying for SSD benefits is that if you are receiving workers compensation (WC) benefits or received a lump sum when you stopped working, your Social Security Disability may be reduced ongoing because of WC offset. In contrast, Social Security Retirement (SSR) benefits are not offset by workers comp.

      Unfortunately, although the two benefits cannot 80% of our Average Monthly Earnings (AME), it is pretty much impossible to determine the amount of the offset in advance to know whether the higher SSD benefit would, after offset, be as much as, more, or less than you current reduced SSR benefits. The reasons are that it depends on how the settlement was written and that Social Security determines AME in different ways depending on the circumstances of your claim and you can’t find out the AME before it has been determined.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  3. Delfina says:

    I’m in disability, I remarried my new husband is in ssi we received 1100 as a couple, my ex husband was born in 1952 he receiving disability we had children together we were married for 17 years , do I qualify for his retirement too

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Delfina,

      You are not eligible for benefits on your ex-husband’s record as long as you are married to your current spouse. Should have marriage end, you could apply for benefits at age sixty-two.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  4. Kathi says:

    I was born in May 1962. I have been disabled since 2011, collecting SSD payments since 2012. My husband of 19 years left me. He was order to pay maintenance for the next 7.5 years. I have a 12 yr old & a 9 year old. I will be 2 months shy of 62 when the maintenance payments stop. Will I be able to also collect on his SS record at age 62, without losing my disability? Or is it one or the other. I have no idea how I will survive.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kathi,

      If your husband is receiving Social Security or is deceased by the time you turn sixty-two, you can draw benefits on his account if the benefits are higher than your disability benefit. (If he dies before you, you can apply for disabled widow’s benefits as early as age fifty.) However, note that any dependent or survivor benefits paid to you will be reduced if you take them before you reach full retirement age, which for you is age sixty-seven. One other thing, if your husband becomes eligible for benefits or dies and the children are his, you may be able to get benefits because you have his children under age sixteen in your care. In that is the case, the benefits will not be reduced. Lastly, you cannot get full SSD benefits and full benefits off his account, but you can get an amount equal to the higher benefit, if it is higher on his account. If any change occurs that indicates possible benefits on your husband’s account, a Social Security claims representative can help you go over your choices at the time. In the meantime, if it is possible, you might consider trying to reduce your basic expenses, such as the cost of housing now, in order to save to have some reserves when the spousal maintenance ends.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. Gardiner, Jo says:

    I have been diagnosed with unilateral hypoactive labyrinth (confirmed via caloric testing). I have either constant vertigo and/or dizziness and nausea. I have great difficulty concentrating, reading or working on computer. Doctor advises I will never recover as my brain is not compensating for balance organ loss. He is one of the only experts in area and will not either confirm or deny I am disabled to ssi because he does not believe in all the paperwork they require. He indicated he will only list my test results. I was in law enforcement for 30 year, which I obviously cannot return to and was two weeks from finishing my paramedic class, which I am unable to complete because of dizziness and cognitive disability it causes. I have tried all sorts of therapy and meds, which have not helped. I cannot will this away apparently. I have found that very few doctors are familiar with this condition and only VEDA website has correct disability info. Because of doctors resistance to fill out paperwork and this being very rare and misunderstood disease and how debilitating and life altering it is, will ssi deny my claim. Any suggestions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jo,

      I suggest asking your doctor if he will make a statement regarding the symptoms that you routinely experience and their frequency, which would be a minimal amount of work on his part and which does not require him to make a disability determination. If he will not, then get a copy of all your office visits for the period of time since you stopped work in law enforcement. The records should include notes of you reporting your symptoms and of any restrictions he gave you (things not to do). Also get statements from co-workers or superiors in your law enforcement job and from the instructors in your paramedics class of any symptoms they saw you having. Make a chronological list (not narrative) of the history of your illness. Include separate dated entries with testing, diagnosis, every change in providers, each time a new medicine was tried and its effect or lack of effect on symptoms, etc. Include contact information for all medical providers including any emergency rooms. You might also get a printout from your pharmacies to show all the medical trials you have been on. If you were treated before you stopped work, go back in time as far as the later of when symptoms first appeared and you first sought medical help or one year before you ceased work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. Robert says:

    I retired early at age 62 and started getting SS retirement.

    At that time, my disabled son, age 21 and on SSI, started receiving half of my SS retirement which resulted in a substantial increase in his monthly benefit compared to what he was receiving from SSI.

    Meanwhile, I applied for and was accepted for SS disability which I recently started receiving a couple of months after turning 63 and which is a substantial increase over my SS retirement benefit. Since my ‘retirement SS’ converted to ‘disability SS’, what are the effects, if any, to son’s monthly ‘half of my retirement SS’ benefit while he is still disabled at 22 with no income?

  7. Chris says:

    If an individual is a 77 year old widow who hasn’t worked in 30 years would she technically be eligible to file for disability? Would she derive any additional benefit?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      Social Security Disability (SSD) is paid to individuals who are under full retirement age, which for a seventy-seven-year-old widow would be age sixty-six. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits are paid to individuals under age sixty five. If the widow in question has income and assets within the SSI limits, she can apply for SSI based on age. Currently, Social Security retirement or widow’s benefit of $753 or more is too much unearned (not work) income to receive SSI in most states.

      You can read about SSI in the articles under the SSI tab at the top of this webpage. If it is uncertain whether she qualifies for SSI, I recommend that she file an application to get a formal determination from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Vargas Vargas says:

        I am 52 had a,magor stroke two years ago.. under lots,of therapy.. now collecting didabikity…. worked 23 yrs as a bis,driver… when. can put in for my retirement

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Vargas,

          Social Security Disability is paid in an unreduced amount and will continue until you reach full retirement age, which for you is age sixty-seven. At that time you will be switched to full retirement benefits, meaning that your benefits will continue in the same amount as the disability benefit that you are getting themonth before retirement benefits begin.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  8. Jaosn says:

    My aunt is currently gettign social security and disability payments from her work(1100 ss and 185 from work) She is 62 years of age. She wants to start collecting her pension from work which is roughly 900 dollars. Will she have to start collecting her normal SS benefits(Officially take them) which are lower than her Disability benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      Social Security law does not require your aunt to refuse her Social Security Disability benefits and change to reduced retirement. She should check with the administrator of her pension plan to see if the plan requires Social Security entitlement and, if it does, whether Social Security Disability meets the requirement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  9. barry kelly says:

    my wife and i are on disability i receive 1200 she 687 she will become 65 in sept 2016 and i will be 63 in sept will there be any change to her benefits

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Barry,

      Your wife will become eligible for Medicare at age sixty-five if she is not already insured. there will be no change in cash benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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