Can You Apply for Social Security Disability After Retirement?

If you are nearing retirement age and have a disability for which you could receive benefits, you might be wondering if you can apply for social security disability after retirement. It’s essential that you understand how Social Security disability and retirement benefits can work together and work against each other. Of course, you can always apply for Social Security Disability benefits after retirement, but that doesn’t mean you will receive them.

Can You Receive SSDI and SS Retirement Benefits at the Same Time?

With only one minor exception, you can’t receive both Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits at the same time. Social Security disability’s purpose is to give those who are unable to work because of their condition and who are too young to access their retirement benefits some sort of livable benefit. In this way, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is like a retirement benefit for those forced to retire early. Those who receive SSDI disability benefits will have them converted to retirement benefits when they reach full retirement age.

The Single Exception: Early Retirement

There is, however, one exception to this rule – f an individual elected to take early retirement through Social Security (an option at age 62) before they were approved for disability benefits.

Disabled Before Early Retirement Benefits

If an individual didn’t draw a full monthly retirement benefit for some time but was later approved for disability benefits, Social Security will retroactively make up the gap between the early retirement benefit and the full disability benefit during the time they were disabled but still receiving early retirement benefits.

For example, suppose you stopped working due to a health condition and received early retirement payments. You then applied for and were approved for disability. In that case, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) agreed that your disability began prior to you collecting early retirement, they would make up the difference between your disability payment and your early retirement payment for the time that you received early retirement benefits. Then when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full retirement benefit as if you hadn’t received early retirement payments.

Furthermore, you would receive the disability freeze benefit, meaning that your lost income due to disability isn’t used when determining your Social Security retirement payment from your earnings record.

Disabled After Early Retirement Benefits Begin

On the other hand, if you received early retirement benefits before Social Security determined you were disabled, they won’t pay you the difference between your disability benefits and the early retirement payment. This means you would receive a less-than-full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Likewise, if the SSA didn’t approve your disability claim from the beginning, you would continue to get early retirement benefits at the early retirement rate for as long as you lived.

Questions About Social Security Disability and Retirement?

If you have questions about SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits, you’re not alone. These benefits and their qualifications and restrictions can be extremely confusing. It’s best to retain the services of an experienced OC social security disability attorney who can help you apply and make the most out of the benefits you are eligible to receive when you are eligible to receive them.