Can You Collect Disability If You’re Retired?
Navigating legal matters can seem daunting, and often leaves one with many questions. One of the questions that is frequently asked of California disability lawyer Dr. Bill LaTour is whether or not it is possible to receive both Social Security disability insurance and retirement benefits at the same time. Generally, this is not possible, though an exception is outlined below.
Understanding Disability and Retirement
When answering this question, one must consider the purpose of both disability and retirement benefits. Social Security disability insurance was designed to assist those who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability, but are unable to qualify for retirement benefits due to age. Retirements benefits were designed to assist those who have reached a certain age and are no longer expected to work. Because of the populations these benefits were designed to serve, it is understandable that they do not typically overlap.
The single exception for receiving both disability and retirement benefits is contingent upon timing. Early retirement becomes possible at age 62, where one may request to receive reduced benefits in exchange for not meeting the retirement age (65 to 67, depending on when you were born). However, if one requested to retire early but can prove that they became disabled before they started collecting early retirement benefits, Social Security will make up the difference between your full retirement benefits and the ones received for early retirement.
This is not entirely unheard of, considering that some people may become disabled later in life. In these instances, those may rely on their own income or through other means for a time, and then apply for early retirement rather than go through the trouble of applying for disability benefits for a short period. It is important to note that Social Security must decide that you became disabled before you applied for and started receiving early retirement benefits in order to make up the difference.
If Social Security decides that the disability came afterward, not only will they not make up the difference, but you may continue to receive the reduced benefits that come with early retirement.
For those who qualify, not only will Social Security make up the difference in payments for the time one received reduced early retirement benefits, but upon reaching the appropriate retirement age, full benefits will continue as if early retirement was never applied for. Also important to note is that one would also qualify for a “disability freeze,” which was created to compensate for the inevitable low income periods for those with disabilities.
These low income periods would usually affect the amount that one receives for either disability or retirement benefits, but through disability freeze, this effect is either limited or negated.
About California Disability Lawyer Dr. Bill LaTour
Dr. Bill LaTour practices law pertaining to Social Security benefits and is a licensed clinical psychologist. The main office is located in Colton, with additional offices being located in Orange, Lancaster, Los Angeles, and Hemet. For those who are disabled or otherwise unable to reach an office, home visits are also possible for residents of Southern California. Call today for more information!