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Can You Collect Social Security and Disability Insurance?

Answers from the Law Firm of Levanthal, Sutton & Gornstein

As disability lawyers practicing in the greater Philadelphia area, we’re sometimes asked, “Can you collect Social Security and disability?” In most cases, with one slight exception that we’ll explain, the answer is no. Normally, you cannot collect both Social Security Retirement Insurance benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSDI was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide income to individuals who have had to leave the workforce because of a disability before they can draw SSDI benefits equal to their full Social Security benefits. These payments will continue until you reach full retirement age based on your birth year. Once you reach that age, SSDI stops automatically and you begin drawing your full Social Security monthly benefits.

You can, of course, apply for early retirement benefits at 62, but if you’re already drawing SSDI, that does not make sense because your SSDI would be the higher of the two benefits. Retirement at 62 lowers your Social Security benefits, and that would lower your monthly SSDI disability payments.

One Exception to the Rule

Having said you normally cannot draw both Social Security and SSDI, there is one possible exception.

In some cases, someone who has suffered a disability that prevents them from working might apply for early Social Security retirement to help with their normal bills and expenses, while also applying for SSDI benefits. If the SSA approves their application, the SSDI payments will usually bring them up to their full retirement benefit. They may also be eligible for retroactive benefits dating back to the month they first suffered their disability.

The risk involved in this approach, however, is that if you apply for early retirement but your claim for SSDI is denied, you may wind up drawing reduced benefits for the rest of your life.

One Other Income Source – Supplemental Security Income

One other possible source of financial assistance is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program helps seniors and those with disabilities that have very low incomes and limited resources, such as property, bank accounts, and life insurance.

The requirements for qualifying for SSI are strict, however, and at the beginning of 2023, the average monthly SSI payment was $553.94.

Assistance from Disability Attorneys

While financial assistance is available from the Social Security Administration, the road to securing this support is long and arduous. It is highly recommended, therefore, that you secure the assistance of experienced disability attorneys who can analyze your situation, assist in filling out your initial application, and stand by your side during the appeals process, if needed.

At the firm of Leventhal, Sutton, & Gornstein, Social Security disability is one of our areas of specialty. Based on our many years of experience, we understand how difficult it is to apply for Social Security disability benefits, especially when you’re already stressed and struggling because of lost income.

We’re here to assist you, and we urge you to contact our firm for an initial free consultation. Together we will examine the merits of your case and plan a course forward.

We urge you not to delay. Contact the firm of Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein today.

Posted on June 15th, 2023 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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