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Should I Pursue Social Security Retirement or Social Security Disability?

If you are in your early 60s and find yourself disabled and unable to work, you may be wondering whether you should pursue Social Security Retirement benefits or Social Security Disability benefits. That decision is personal and entirely up to you. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you make your decision.

  1. You can claim your Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, as long as you have earned at least 40 work credits, which for most people, is equivalent to 10 years of paid work. However, if you claim retirement benefits before the age of 67, you will not receive your maximum benefit amount. As a result, many people try to delay claiming retirement benefits until the age of 67 or  later.
  2. If you start receiving Social Security Disability benefits before full retirement age (which is 66 or 67 depending on when you were born), your disability benefits will convert to retirement benefits when you reach full retirement age. However, the amount you receive will remain the same. Since retirement benefits are often a higher amount than SSDI benefits, this may have bearing on your decision as well.
  3. You can only receive one of these benefits at a time and these benefits range in the amount of income they provide you with. The average Social Security Disability benefit is $1,234/month, while the average retirement benefit depends on how much you earned while you were working and the age at which you claim your retirement benefits.
  4. If you do not have enough work history to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits or retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income may be an option for you. Supplemental Security Income benefits provide support to disabled people with limited/no work experience. With the recent COLA adjustment of 5.9%, the maximum Supplemental Security Income benefit is $841/month for an individual.

It can be challenging to figure out what to do if you find yourself disabled and in need of financial support. We are here to answer your questions and can help you with the Social Security Disability application process if you choose to go that route. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, you can reach us 805-214-8888 or fill out our Contact Us form.