1. Social Security Disability
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  3. FAQ
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  5. Should I take an early retirement or file for Social Security disability?

Should I take an early retirement or file for Social Security disability?

If working a job is not a possibility due to health concerns and are approaching the age of 62, you may believe that retiring early is the best option.

However, you must consider the big picture and decide whether early retirement or filing for Social Security disability benefits is the wisest course of action in your particular case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) follows very strict guidelines when it comes to retirement and disability benefits.

Benefits of Early Retirement

As early as age 62, you can apply for early retirement and begin earning monthly payments. You can claim for benefits up to the age of 70. If you begin collecting benefits before reaching what is referred to as “full retirement age,” your monthly benefit amount will be decreased.

Your full retirement age is determined by your birth date. For instance, if you were born prior to 1937, you can begin getting benefits early at the age of 62, but you will earn just 80% of the monthly benefit because you would be receiving benefits for an additional 36 months until you reach full retirement age of 65.

Disability Benefits under Social Security

If you opt to file for disability benefits and are determined to be disabled by Social Security, you will get 100% of your monthly payment. When you reach full retirement age, your pension will convert to Social Security at a 100% rate. Thus, if you successfully show your disability case, you will continue to get additional money each month.

Disability claims can be time consuming and difficult, but with the correct documents, you should be able to prove your case and receive payments.

Your Claim for Social Security Disability

An important factor to a successful claim is to provide adequate documentation to substantiate your claim and demonstrate that your medical condition renders you unable to work. You should be approved for disability benefits for your medical condition if you can demonstrate your diagnosis, seriousness of the condition, all your limitations and restrictions, any treatment you have received and your response to it, and how your daily activities have changed since your diagnosis or as your condition has progressed.

Include all doctor’s records, surgical notes, test results, and doctor notes, as well as any documentation or journaling you’ve kept about your condition.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can begin the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits online. You can also can visit your local Social Security Administration office and begin the application process in person by visiting with an employee. Due to the intricacy of a disability claim, retaining the services of an advocate or an attorney can be extremely valuable in assisting you in winning your case. You should consult an attorney prior to initiating the application.

The majority of cases are first denied, and many proceed to an administrative law judge for a decision. However, people who have retained the services of an advocate or attorney have a considerably better chance of having their disability claim recognized.