In most cases, recipients cannot collect Social Security disability benefits and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. Typically, when someone who receives SSDI or SSI disability benefits becomes eligible for retirement benefits from the system, the benefits simply convert from disability to retirement.
At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, our Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyers help people cut through the red tape when pursuing a claim for the benefits they need and deserve. In practice since 1984, we focus our work deeply in this area of the law, bringing the experience your case demands.
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Early Retirement Exception
You cannot get double benefits by combining Social Security retirement and disability benefits. There is, however, a specific situation in which you may receive both types of benefits at the same time – but only to bring you up to your full benefit amount, not double benefits.
The Social Security disability program exists to provide disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of their medical condition but are too young to draw their retirement benefits. In this sense, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be thought of as a retirement benefit for those who are forced to retire early.
If you do collect SSDI disability benefits, they will be converted to retirement benefits when you reach full retirement age. In some cases, you may be eligible for back pay.
Disabled Before Early Retirement Benefits Start
If you drew less than a full monthly retirement benefit for some period of time, and then were approved for disability benefits, Social Security can make up the difference between the early retirement amount and the full disability amount for those months you were disabled but receiving early retirement benefits retroactively.
For example, say you quit work due to health problems, started to collect early retirement benefits for a time, and then applied for and got approved for disability benefits. If your disability started before you began collecting early retirement, Social Security would pay you the difference between your disability payment (which is equal to your full retirement payment) and your early retirement payment for the months that you received early retirement payments.
In addition, when you reach full retirement age, you would get your full retirement benefit, as if you had never opted to collect early retirement payments.
Disabled After Early Retirement Benefits Start
On the other hand, if you were collecting early retirement benefits before Social Security says you were disabled, Social Security will not pay you the difference between your disability payment and the early retirement payment. You would be paid at a less-than-full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Similarly, if Social Security denied your disability claim outright, you would continue to receive early retirement payments at the early retirement rate for the rest of your life.
Contact the Attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons for a Free Consultation
If all this seems confusing, be aware that Social Security disability law is complex and fraught with inconsistencies. Rarely are two cases alike.
Don’t go it alone. Draw on the knowledge and one-on-one personal attention of law firm partner Philip Ryan. He has successfully handled SSDI and SSI claims for almost 30 years, including more than 3,000 SSDI hearings. Relax knowing he won’t back down.
Call now to discuss your options in a free consultation.