Can I Apply For Both Early Retirement And Disability Benefits At The Same Time?

If you are between 62 and 65 years old and currently have either a physical and/or mental disability that is preventing you from working you may want to consider Social Security Disability. Many individuals who have reached 62 or are approaching 62 years old never even consider applying for disability benefits. They know that they have to stop working due to their disabilities so they simply apply for early retirement through Social Security.

If you want to know your full retirement age, then you can view that on the Social Security website.

According to Social Security:
You can retire at any time between age 62 and full retirement age. However, if you start benefits early, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age.
It's important to note that if you receive early retirement, the reduced monthly benefits that you receive are the benefits that you will receive for the rest of your life. So, if you receive 25% less benefits than you would at full retirement age, you will receive 25% less until the day you die. Some people think that the penalty is removed once they reach full retirement age but that is not the case. 

Those who are between the ages of 62 and 65 years old have the ability to file for Social Security early retirement benefits and also apply for Social Security disability benefits at the same time. What happens is you start receiving the reduced monthly benefits through early retirement and if you are eventually awarded Social Security Disability benefits your monthly benefits will be increased to your full retirement amount. (If your Social Security Disability application is denied however you are stuck receiving the reduced early retirement benefits).

If you apply for early retirement while waiting for your disability application to be processed then if you are eventually awarded disability you may be able to recover the difference in benefits retroactively for the months that the disability application was being processed by Social Security.

Hypothetical scenario (the numbers used are just for illustration purposes):
Frank is 62 years old and his disabilities prevent him from continuing to work. Frank applies for early retirement in February 2012 and begins receiving his reduced monthly benefit of $1,200 per month. At the same time he files for Social Security disability benefits alleging that he is disabled since August 2011. If he is awarded disability his monthly benefits will be $1,600 per month.

In June 2012 Social Security informs Frank that he meets the criteria for Social Security Disability with a disability onset date in August 2011. After satisfying the five month waiting period that Social Security has, Frank is first entitled to Social Security Disability benefits in February 2012.
The difference between his early retirement benefits and disability benefits are $400 per month. Frank will receive retroactive benefits of $400 for the months of February, March, April, May and June. Going forward he will receive $1,600 per month from Social Security Disability.
Once Frank reaches his full retirement age he will continue to receive $1,600 per month, but instead of the monthly benefits being considered Social Security Disability, it is now Social Security Retirement.
If you are confused or have questions about applying for Social Security early retirement benefits and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time then you should contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in your area.

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