I AM ALREADY DRAWING RETIREMENT; CAN I STILL FILE FOR DISABILITY?
If you have elected to draw retirement early, such as at age 62, than you can’t receive Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits at the same time. The only exception for an individual who took early retirement through Social Security, before being approved for disability benefits, is if their disability was found to have started prior to them drawing retirement.
If an individual drew less than their full monthly retirement benefit, and then was approved for disability benefits, Social Security will make up the difference between the early retirement amount and the full disability amount for those months the individual was disabled but receiving early retirement benefits (retroactively). Once you are found disabled, you will get to continue to draw that higher amount without penalty for the rest of your life.
For example, if you quit work in January of 2018 at age 62 and decide to collect early retirement benefits and then apply for disability benefits, the Social Security would have to find that your disability started before January of 2018 when you started to collect early retirement.
However, if you did retire in January of 2018 and sustained an injury, became sick or other diagnosis which rendered you disabled after January of 2018, when you were collecting early retirement benefits, Social Security will not pay you the difference between your disability payment and the early retirement payment, and you would be paid at a less-than-full retirement rate for the rest of your life. This is because you were not disabled prior to you receiving retirement benefits. Depending on which month you elect to start drawing early retirement, this can mean the difference in 25% of your monthly benefit for life.
If you are closely approaching early retirement and contemplating whether to file for disability or early retirement, talk to an experienced disability representative at our firm who can help advise you on your best financial options. Please call one of the experienced disability representatives at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.