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The intersection of Social Security Disability and retirement

The rules, regulations and laws that govern Social Security benefits for disability and retirement are complex and often confusing. That’s why we’re going to devote this post in our Raleigh blog to the intersection of SSD and retirement benefits.

Many people who are prevented from working by an illness or injury wonder how applying for and receiving Social Security Disability benefits might affect their Social Security retirement benefits – especially if they are near retirement age when they become disabled.

A recent news article on SSD and retirement sought to reassure readers that if they received SSD benefits before they reached their full retirement age (FRA), the Social Security Administration would simply switch their benefits from SSD to the retirement program. “You will not notice a difference in your income when this happens,” the article stated.

While you typically can’t get SSD and retirement benefits at the same time, there is an exception to this rule: if you filed for early retirement after you became disabled and were then determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled.

This scenario could happen to someone who is disabled by injury or illness right before their 62nd birthday. Because the person is unable to work and needs prompt financial assistance to pay for bills, he or she decides to start receiving retirement benefits.

Because they are receiving those benefits before FRA, benefits are reduced by as much as 30 percent. However, if they retired early because of a disability – and filed for SSD and were then approved for SSD – “the Social Security Administration brings up your monthly checks to the amount you’d have received at FRA.” That could well mean a significant boost in monthly income.

You can discuss this and other SSD/SSDI questions you have with an attorney experienced in helping clients get the disability benefits that they deserve.

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