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Can a person file for retirement and disability at the same time?

When Georgia residents face important decisions in their lives, it always helps to have more options to consider. The choice of one option over another, or the choice of both at once, will depend on the circumstances at issue.

For example, when a person suffers a work-related injury near the age of retirement, there may be tough decisions to consider in how the person should handle the situation. Some individuals may choose to retire, while others may not be ready to retire yet, but they may be unable to work because of the injury.

Fortunately, individuals can typically apply for both Social Security retirement and SSDI benefits for injuries at the same time. This is because each program varies in its requirements.

Social Security disability benefits are based largely on the person’s present medical condition. If the person is unable to work because of a disability, the person may qualify for disability benefits that can provide help in dealing with the lost income. The disability amounts are not reduced for age, although there is a waiting period from when the person suffers the disability to when the benefits become effective. If the person files for both retirement and disability benefits at the same time, the retirement is typically paid first while the disability application is pending.

While a person can file for both retirement and disability benefits, disability benefits are tougher to receive than retirement. The amount of benefits received will depend on whether the person receives both retirement and disability benefits, as well as the particular circumstances for each different kind of benefit. For instance, after an approval of a disability application, a person’s ongoing retirement amount may be changed to disability and increased, while the final disability amount will be reduced by the number of months the person received reduced retirement before the disability effective date.

Ultimately, disability and retirement are two different programs. However, it is important to understand the interplay between the two, because one can affect the other.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, “Social Security Q&A:  After a severe accident, should I take Social Security disability or retirement?,” Howard Kossover, May 7, 2016

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