Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits exist essentially as an early retirement plan for those unable to work due to illness or injury. These individuals haven’t reached full retirement age, but they are no longer able to work due to their condition. Therefore, they need a source of income to bridge the gap between now and retirement. 

For individuals who are nearing retirement age but haven’t reached the threshold age to receive traditional retirement benefits, it can be challenging to know whether to retire or apply for disability. Collecting early retirement is not the same as going on social security disability. There are specific advantages to going on disability if the condition warrants it, outlined below. 

retire or disability

Is It Better to Retire or Go on Disability? 

Whether to take early retirement or try to go on disability depends on numerous factors. If someone is over the age of 62 but not quite at retirement age, it might make sense for them to take early retirement. But, if their health is poor, applying for disability often makes more sense, as they are likely able to collect a larger monthly check on disability than what they would on retirement. 

In addition, being approved for SSDI essentially locks someone in at that level of benefit, and there would be no reduction in benefits amount once they reach full retirement age. On the other hand, if someone takes early retirement, their benefits are permanently reduced because they are taking retirement benefits early. 

medical source statement ssdi

Being approved for social security disability benefits before retirement means that the monthly check could be higher, depending on work history. Once SSDI benefits switch over to retirement benefits, the monthly check will not go down – and could even increase. In this way, it’s essential for someone to apply for disability if their health is poor, as simply waiting for retirement to kick in or taking early retirement could be leaving money on the table. 

Getting Approved for SSDI at an Older Age

While it may be more beneficial for someone to apply for social security disability benefits than early retirement, there is no guarantee of being approved for benefits. Having the proper documentation to support the claim and your diagnosis, hospital records, and all relevant materials are essential for approval. 

When applying for SSDI at an older age, there is a good chance of having a work history that allows a higher monthly benefit payment. Disability benefit monthly amounts are specific to individuals and directly related to their work history and the quantity that they have paid into the system. 

In addition, older adults often have limitations that they are less likely to recover from, making them ideal candidates to receive disability benefits. 

Anyone needing help applying for disability benefits for the first time or appealing a benefits denial is encouraged to contact the professionals at Tabak Law, a Milwaukee-based social security disability benefits attorney. The firm can be reached at 800-245-1430 or by filling out a simple form on this page. 

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