Harlan Still & Koch

Can you apply for SSD benefits if you retire early?

Many people in Missouri anticipate working until they reach their full retirement age. Then, with their full retirement savings and Social Security benefits, they'll be able to enjoy their retirement goals, whether this means travelling the world, buying a motorcycle or simply enjoying their free time with their family and friends.

However, for those who suffer a major illness or injury before reaching retirement age, these dreams could be shattered. If a person's health is so poor that they cannot continue working, they may be forced into taking an early retirement. This could be devastating, not just on an emotional level, also but because the worker will not have contributed as much to their 401(k), IRAs and other retirement savings as they would have liked. Moreover, depending on their age, if someone takes an early retirement and thus has not worked as many years as they planned, then their Social Security retirement benefits may not be as high as they expected. All of this combined could mean a person is living on a lower income than they would have wanted once retired.

There is another option that some people who find themselves in such a situation may qualify for -- Social Security Disability benefits. If a person's health issues are so disabling that it permanently prevents the person from working, it may be possible to apply for SSD benefits. A person who qualifies for SSD benefits can collect these benefits until they reach their full retirement age. Then, once they reach their full retirement age, they will start receiving Social Security benefits in the same amount as their SSD benefits. This could leave them with a greater monthly income than they would have if they were forced to take retirement benefits early. In addition, those who qualify for SSD benefits may also qualify for a "disability freeze," in which the Social Security Administration will not take low-earning years (i.e. the years the worker was disabled) when calculating the worker's monthly benefits.

As this shows, applying for SSD benefits can help a person who is forced to take an early retirement maximize the amount of income they'll receive to live comfortably into their old age. A disability can diminish one's quality of life, making it more important than ever that they receive the benefits to which they are entitled. While this post cannot guarantee that everyone will qualify for SSD benefits, those who do may find they have the resources they need to make ends meet financially, even if their medical condition keeps them permanently out of the workforce.

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Harlan Still & Koch

515 Cherry Street
Suite 300
Columbia, MO 65201

Toll Free: 800-483-1789
Phone: 573-874-2402
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