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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Should I Go Off Disability And Switch To Retirement Before Full Retirement Age?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Sep 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

When a person collecting SSDI disability benefits (as opposed to SSI) reaches early retirement age, what should she do? The simplest answer is to remain on disability until reaching full retirement age (FRA.) This is what happens almost all the time. But, are there times when it makes sense to switch from disability to early retirement?

Workers Comp Plus Social Security Disability

One situation where this might be wise is if Social Security is offsetting a person's disability benefits by workers compensation (WC) benefits. 

And To Think I Got Hurt . . .

There is an immensely complicated formula for calculating this offset. I have never understood it very well. But, the important thing is that Social Security will reduce disability benefits if a beneficiary is also collecting WC payments.  Interestingly, there is no WC offset for retirement benefits. This means that those people below FRA getting both disability and WC benefits could see their Social Security checks increase when the WC offset is gone.

But What About Medicare?

But, the devil is in the details. It is not clear what happens to the beneficiary's Medicare coverage if she switches from

Why's Everybody Always Pickin' On Me?

disability to retirement benefits. While Social Security might pay you more each month, it might not make up for the loss of Medicare coverage. For the disabled in particular, access to health insurance is critical. 

If a person were to switch from Social Security disability to Social Security retirement, that might result in one of two bad things happening. First, that person might be left with no health insurance at all. Or, that person could shop on for health insurance. The cost of insuring a person in her sixties with disabling medical conditions could easily eclipse all the benefits Social Security is paying that person. 

Isn't Medicare The Most Important Benefit?

I have many clients over the years tell me that they really wanted Medicare more than anything else. A monthly benefit check would be nice, but secondary to be assured of access to doctors and hospitals.  I find real wisdom in that approach.

If you are getting both WC and Social Security benefits and you have guaranteed access to other health insurance, such as through a spouse's job, it makes sense upon during 62 to look into converting to retirement benefits. Otherwise, I think the old cliche about sleep dogs applies here. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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