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Retirement and Disability Benefits

As a general rule, you are unable to receiving disability benefits and retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the same time. This is true even if your retirement was due in part to being unable to work any longer because of a disability.

However, if you are drawing retirement benefits early, there is an exception to this general rule. When an individual is drawing less than a full monthly retirement benefit for a period of time (i.e. due to applying for retirement benefits early) and is later found to have become disabled prior to receiving retirement benefits, the SSA will retroactively pay the difference between what you were receiving in early retirement benefits and the amount you were entitled to receive in disability benefits. Then, when you reach your full retirement age, you would begin receiving your full retirement benefits as if you had never filed for these benefits early.

If you are contemplating filing for both disability and taking retirement benefits early, there are important factors to consider. Namely, if you take early retirement benefits from SSA and you do not win your disability case, then you would end up collecting less that your full retirement benefit for the rest of your life. So, while this may seem like a good idea to keep yourself solvent while going through the disability process, it is important to consider whether you would be able to live on less than full retirement in the event that your disability claim is unsuccessful.

There are many reasons why it is to your advantage to work with an experienced disability lawyer and law firm if you are considering applying for disability benefits. These professionals can give additional clarification about the complex interplay between retirement and disability benefits and help you weight the pros and cons of taking retirement benefits early.

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