Milwaukee, WI residents who are only a couple of years away from retirement age but lose their ability to work and make a living due to some medical condition have two options: retiring early or applying for social security disability benefits in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, by electing to apply of early retirement your monthly benefit is drastically reduced, for life. Whereas, if you are deemed disabled prior to full retirement age your monthly benefit is not reduced. Ultimately, resulting in thousands of dollars of additional payments per year.
Both options allow the beneficiary to support themselves until they reach retirement age. However, each option comes with its requirements and benefits, and it is up to the applicant to decide which one is more convenient in their particular situation.
In order to identify the best solution and obtain help with preparing and filing their claim, many Milwaukee residents choose to enlist the services of an experienced lawyer. This way, from the very first consultation, they can find out what the requirements and benefits for each alternative are, and they can make an informed decision.
Retiring Early vs. Applying for Disability Benefits in Milwaukee, WI
The differences between the two options are notable on several levels:
1. Eligibility and Application Requirements
In order to receive SSDI benefits, all the applicant has to do is prove that they have a physical or mental condition that will last at least 12 months, and that this condition affects their ability to work and earn their living.
The best starting point to assess eligibility for SSDI is the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Medical Impairments.” However, applicants with other conditions and impairments may qualify as well.
The requirements for early retirement are more complicated. Perhaps the most important of them refers to the applicant’s age. It can range from 50 years for vested applicants with protective category service to 62 years for applicants without protective category service.
Applicants also need vesting, for which the requirements are as follows:
- Those whose WRS employment began after 1989 and ended before April 1998 need some creditable WRS service during five calendar years.
- Those whose WRS employment began in July 2011 or later must have at least five years of creditable WRS service.
- Those who do not fit in any of the above two categories were vested upon beginning their when their WRS employment.
2. Payable Benefits and Other Financial Implications
Although exceptions may exist, SSDI benefits usually match retirement benefits and exceed early retirement benefits. On the one hand, SSDI benefit payments are retroactive. They can cover a period of up to twelve months before the application date. On the other hand, retiring early brings about penalties of 30% from the full retirement benefits, which do not apply to SSDI benefits.
SSDI also brings about the “disability freeze.” It limits the negative effect of the zero earning period on the beneficiary’s retirement benefits. Otherwise put, the Social Security Administration will not take into account the periods of no or low-income when calculating the retirement benefits of an SSDI beneficiary. These periods do count for early retirement beneficiaries.
3. Medicare Coverage
Medicare coverage is another reason why applying for disability benefits is preferably to retiring early. Those who retire early can only benefit from it after turning 65. Those who receive SSDI benefits, on the other hand, qualify for coverage within 24 months from the approval of their disability claim.
Drawing the Line: Retiring Early vs. Applying for Disability Benefits in Milwaukee
As the above differences suggest, SSDI benefits are preferable to early retirement. The only situation when early retirement remains the best solution is when the applicant does not suffer from any condition or impairment and will not qualify for disability benefits.
It is important to note that even those who have already chosen early retirement can apply for SSDI. If they receive the approval, they will switch from early retirement to SSDI until they can fully retire. If their SSDI claim receives a negative verdict, they can either appeal it or accept it and continue to receive their early retirement benefits.
No matter the situation, anyone in the situation of choosing between early retirement and SSDI can benefit from the advice of an experienced SSDI lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and they have nothing to lose. Some social security benefits lawyers in Milwaukee, like the Tabak Law LLC team, offer free case reviews, allowing potential applicants to receive answers to their questions and advice without paying.
Those who want to save time and effort, and make sure their SSDI claim is thoroughly supported and with higher approval chances can hire the lawyer they discuss their case with and let them take over the legal hassles.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Tabak Law SSDI lawyer in Milwaukee
If you have not yet decided what is best for you – retiring early or applying for disability benefits – discussing your case with a Tabak Law attorney in Milwaukee will surely help. Call 844-432-0114, or use the online contact form to schedule a FREE consultation, and you’ll obtain all the answers and advice you need!