Blue chairs on a beach

If you are approaching retirement or even early retirement age, and you are no longer able to work, then you may be weighing your options between toughing it out or trying to get SSDI benefits. Should you apply for SSDI if you are close to retirement? Tabak Law can help you find an answer as the right answer is often different from person to person.

Retire Early or Apply for SSDI

When you retire early, do you know what happens? You basically take a lower retirement amount and you get locked in at that amount. This means if you retire early, whatever amount you locked in, will continue to be your benefit and you will never get the full retirement benefit. For the sake of clarity, your benefit will still go up after cost of living adjustments, but your full retirement amount would always earn you more money.

Read More: 2023 Cost of Living Adjustment

How Much Do You Make on SSDI?

The amount you make on SSDI is actually directly correlated to your full retirement amount. Basically, when you go on SSDI, your monthly benefit is set at whatever your full retirement amount is if you were of age to get that amount now.

If you are on SSDI once you hit full retirement age, then technically your SSDI benefits will cease and you will be on regular Social Security retirement benefits at that point, though your monthly benefit after the changeover should remain the same.

Is Retiring Early Ever a Good Idea?

old couple on an ocean pier

There are certain situations in which retiring early is perfectly fine. If you have a nest egg built up and just want to be done with work, then go for it. However, if you’re considering early retirement only because you are unable to work, then we highly recommend you seek SSDI benefits and exhaust those options.

The only situation where maybe pursuing SSDI benefits isn’t worthwhile is if you became disabled shortly before reaching full retirement age. You have to be unable to work for 5 months before your SSDI benefits will kick in anyway. So if you are in that window, you may want to forget about applying for SSDI and try to get by until you hit full retirement age.

Read More: What Can Disqualify You From SSDI?

Can You Apply for SSDI if You Took Early Retirement

There is a common misconception that once you take early retirement you can no longer apply for SSDI, and that is not the case. If you took early retirement, you can still apply for SSDI benefits which will potentially get you to the full retirement amount.

There are basically two scenarios at play here:

  • You Were Disabled When You Took Early Retirement—In this scenario, if you apply for SSDI benefits for a disability that began before you took early retirement, and your established onset date reflects that when Social Security approves your benefits, you will get your full retirement amount and any back pay backdated up to 12 months.
  • You Become Disabled After Taking Early Retirement—In this scenario, if you apply and get approved and your established onset date set by Social Security is after you applied for early retirement, then you will still earn more and are eligible for backpay, but there will be a reduction factor. This essentially means you will not get your full retirement amount, but you will still get a higher monthly benefit.

Do You Get Medicare Automatically With SSDI?

Legal Help With SSDI Benefits

If you need legal help getting the SSDI benefits that you deserve, then you should consider reaching out to Tabak Law. We are experts in the field of SSDI law and we can even give you a free case review. Don’t miss out on benefits because you didn’t have an experienced legal team at your side.

Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.

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