Can You Change from Early Retirement to Disability Benefits

Many of us eagerly anticipate retirement. After years of working hard at our jobs, we look forward to a time when we can relax and spend our days doing the things we love such as spending time with family, traveling or pursuing hobbies. The earlier we can begin enjoying our retirement, the better.

Unfortunately, many of those who retire early often do so because of pressing health concerns. While these people may already be receiving workers’ compensation, long-term disability benefits or early retirement benefits through their employer, they may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as well.

You may be entitled to receive SSD benefits if your health problems were a contributing factor in your choice to retire or even if your medical issues began or got worse after you retired. Depending on your circumstances, you may even be able to get your benefits approved retroactively.

It is important to know what you are entitled to receive in terms of SSD benefits and whether those resources may be available to you in your retirement.

Determining Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is one of the largest federal programs for people who have suffered a disabling injury or illness.

Run by the Social Security Administration (SSA), SSDI pays cash benefits to partially replace income lost as a result of one’s disability. As an employee, you actually pay into the program through the taxes which are withheld from your paychecks.

You are eligible to receive payments for SSDI if you have been medically determined to suffer a disability.

While many of us think of disabling conditions as something that happens to other people, studies cited by the SSA indicate that as many as one in four young people will suffer a disabling injury or medical condition by the time they reach the age of 65.

In making a determination for disability benefits, the SSA will consider a number of factors, such as the severity of your condition and if it interferes with your ability to work.

Health conditions that qualify as a disability include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders – Degenerative and inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons
  • Chronic respiratory problems – Examples include COPD, cystic fibrosis and asthma
  • Cardiovascular system issues – These can include problems affecting the heart
  • Problems with senses or speech – Vision and hearing loss are examples
  • Digestive disorders – Liver dysfunction and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neurological disorders – Epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
  • Mental disorders – Anxiety-related disorders and those affecting intellectual ability.

Making the Switch to Social Security Disability Benefits

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 56 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of disability. Many people suffering from various forms of disabling injuries or illnesses often deal with the increasing limitations of their condition by choosing to retire early.

Unfortunately, those who choose to retire early due to a health condition may be unaware that are entitled to SSD benefits.

Keep in mind: SSDI is not a welfare or charitable program. It is a program that you as a worker paid into in the event you became unable to work due to an illness or injury.

Fortunately, it is possible to make the switch from receiving early retirement benefits to getting the disability benefits you deserve, and it is also possible to get disability benefits applied retroactively. In order to make the switch from early retirement to disability, you would need to do the following:

  • Apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits
  • Gather the appropriate information such as work history, military history, information concerning expenses and accounts and personal documents such as marriage and birth certificates
  • Provide the names and contact information for all physicians as well as medical records showing that your medical condition results in a disability
  • Collect medical records and receipts showing your disability occurred prior to taking early retirement.

Calculating Your Potential Benefits

By applying and being approved for Social Security Disability benefits, your monthly benefits amount could possibly increase. To calculate the amount of SSD benefits you could receive, it is important to factor in whether your disability occurred prior to retirement.

If you can show your disability occurred before you took early retirement, you will have the advantage of what is called a “disability freeze.” The freeze disregards any low-earning years in calculating the amount of disability benefits.

The amount you were getting for early retirement benefits would then change to generally higher disability payments, with any retroactive amounts added to your monthly check.

At the law firm of Frank M. Eidson, P.A., we understand how challenging and confusing it can be to deal with all the forms the Social Security Administration requires as well as how difficult it can be to get the benefits you are legally entitled to receive.

Attorney Frank M. Eidson has a thorough understanding of the SSA system. Our law firm can help to streamline the process for you while working to seek the absolute maximum amount of benefits for you.

We truly understand how receiving these benefits can go a long way towards ensuring a fulfilling retirement for you and your family.

Contact an Orlando Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney

Are you interested in applying for disability benefits after receiving early retirement? If you or a loved one took early retirement due to health problems, or if you began having problems after you retired, contact attorney Frank M. Eidson today.

Our legal team can help you to navigate the complex and often confusing Social Security Disability Insurance system, including helping you with an appeal if your application for benefit was initially denied.

We always provide individual attention, support and personalized service for our clients in Orlando, Winter Park and throughout Florida. Contact us today to schedule a free review of your case. We can learn more about your objectives and answer all of your questions.


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