Receiving retirement benefits can impact the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you draw from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your disability benefits will change if you have reached retirement age.
If you are receiving early retirement benefits and are successful in proving that you are disabled, your early retirement benefits will stop and you will begin receiving Social Security Disability benefits in an amount that would be your full retirement age benefit. Your benefit will then seamlessly convert to a full retirement benefit and you do not have to do anything.
What Happens to My SSDI Benefits When I Reach Full Retirement Age?
You cannot collect Social Security retirement benefits and SSDI at the same time. This is because, when you reach your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration (SSA) converts your SSDI benefits into Social Security retirement benefits. Your full retirement age varies depending on the year you were born.
Once you reach this age, the SSA will automatically change your SSDI benefits to retirement benefits. Your monthly benefit amount, however, will not change.
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Will Retirement Change My SSI Benefits?
SSI benefits are available for disabled adults and children and people over the age of 65 who meet specific low-income requirements. People who qualify for SSI payments often do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
SSI benefits do not automatically convert to retirement benefits when you reach retirement age. You have to have paid into Social Security from work that you performed in the past in order to qualify for retirement benefits.
If at retirement age you become eligible for retirement benefits your SSI benefits may be reduced by the amount of your retirement benefit. You cannot combine SSI benefits and retirement benefits and get more money.
How Could Private Retirement Benefits Affect My Disability Benefits?
While retirement benefits impact your SSI benefits, these private funds usually do not change your SSDI amount. If your pension or retirement plans come from an employer that did not withhold Social Security taxes, your monthly payments may be affected.
Employers that do not pay into Social Security include:
- Some federal or military pensions
- Some state and local governments
In this instance, a government worker who becomes disabled might still be eligible for some but not all their SSDI benefits.
How Does the SSA Offset Disability Payments?
Understanding the Windfall Elimination Provision
The Windfall Elimination Provision applies to anyone who worked a job that did not withhold Social Security taxes and:
- Turned 62 after 1985 or became disabled after 1985
- Became eligible for a pension from a job that didn’t pay Social Security taxes
If you qualify under this provision, the SSA will use a different method to calculate your benefit amount. Using a specific formula, the SSA:
- Bases your benefits on your average monthly earnings adjusted for average wage growth; and
- Separates your average earnings into three amounts; and
- Multiplies those amounts using three factors to determine your full benefit amount.
Explaining the Government Pension Offset
The SSA can reduce your benefits—and the benefits available to your spouse—through the Government Pension Offset. If you receive retirement benefits or pension from certain local, state, or federal government jobs, the SSA might reduce your benefits.
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Why You Should Consider Partnering with Our Social Security Disability Law Firm
Getting Social Security disability benefits can be a long and difficult process. There are strict deadlines that must be met. A disability lawyer from Berger and Green has the experience necessary to build a strong claim for disability benefits. You should be represented by an attorney at your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Our disability lawyers have more than 40 years of experience fighting for claimants’ benefits. Some of our legal services include:
- Completing your application for benefits
- Appealing any decisions regarding your benefits
- Gathering necessary documentation of your disability
- Representing you at any necessary hearings
- Reviewing how your retirement benefits affect your disability benefits
- Answering your questions about the process
You have the right to know about every decision the SSA makes regarding your benefits. We can break down these complicated mandates into easy-to-understand terms. We will be with you every step of the way.
Discuss Your Situation With Berger and Green’s Disability Benefits Team
At Berger and Green, we can determine if your upcoming retirement will impact your SSI or SSDI benefits. If you are receiving early retirement benefits we may be able to help with your disability claim.
In some cases, disability recipients qualify for additional compensation. For instance, if you suffered harm due to another party’s negligence, our personal injury team can seek damages outside of what the SSA offers. Connect with our firm at (412) 661-1400 to start your free case review.