If I receive Social Security retirement benefits, does it affect my ability to draw disability benefits?
If you are of full retirement age you cannot receive SSDI. Even those who qualify to draw both at the same time do not receive more than their maximum retirement amount. However, you can continue to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as long as you meet the stringent income criteria for these benefits.
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Why can I not receive both SSDI and retirement benefits at the same time?
SSDI kicks in to provide an income when you suffer an injury or illness and can no longer work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays out benefits through the SSDI program until you reach full retirement age.
When this occurs, the SSA automatically begins paying out retirement benefits. Because the SSA transfers you from SSDI to retirement benefits automatically when you reach full retirement age, you should not notice any interruption in your payments if you are receiving SSDI. In this way, SSDI bridges the gap until you can collect retirement.
Should I opt for early retirement if I currently draw SSDI?
While you can file for early retirement at age 62, this usually is not advantageous if you currently receive SSDI payments. By drawing early retirement, you only receive a partial payment. If you wait until full retirement age—between age 65 and age 67, depending on your birthdate—you will receive a larger payout each month. Since SSDI already pays out your full retirement amount, requesting early retirement would reduce your monthly payments.
Who can draw both SSDI and retirement benefits from the SSA?
A person can draw both SSDI benefits and retirement in situations where someone takes early retirement but then begins receiving SSDI. This usually happens in cases when someone suffers an illness or injury after age 62. They cannot continue to work and need money as soon as possible. They opt for early retirement, giving them some income until the SSA approves their disability claim and the waiting period passes.
Once they approve the claim, the SSDI program begins paying out a full retirement age benefit. This payment will equal their full retirement benefit amount.
If you are considering this, the attorneys at Berger and Green can take a look at your situation and offer legal advice on your next steps. We can help you understand the risks of each possible option in your case.
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Can I qualify for SSI while collecting retirement?
The SSI program serves those who cannot work and those over age 65 who have an extremely low income and few personal assets. If you qualify for SSI benefits while drawing SSDI, you will likely continue to qualify once your retirement kicks in at full retirement age.
If you are not yet drawing this type of benefit, we can help you determine if you meet the strict income and asset qualifications. According to 2017 SSA rules, you need to earn less than $735 per month to qualify. There are also additional rules on unearned income and assets, as well as allowable income exclusions and deductions. Contact our office for help applying for the SSI program.
How can a Social Security lawyer help me understand my benefits?
At Berger and Green, our disability attorneys can explain how your current benefits may change over time. We can ensure you understand and feel confident that you will continue to receive the same monthly payment when you reach full retirement age.
If you do not yet collect all the government benefits you qualify for, we can help you determine which programs meet your needs and can assist as you file your claim for these benefits. Depending on your individual situation, this may include SSDI, retirement, and SSI benefits.
We can help you understand how these programs work and how they affect one another. We can answer any questions you have and help you weigh your options. When it comes to SSDI and SSI cases, we can examine your claim and help you apply for disability. If the SSA denies your claim, we can manage the appeals process and fight for the benefits you deserve.
How can I reach a disability attorney about my benefits?
At Berger and Green, our legal team has the experience and skill you need to understand how Social Security benefits work. We know how to maximize your payout based on your unique circumstances. We can help you get the monthly payments you need and deserve and ensure you are making the right decisions when it comes to your government benefits. Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a time to meet with one of our Social Security lawyers.