Thursday, April 02, 2009

Can You Collect Social Security and Disability At the Same Time?

There are many ways this question could be answered that would provide both yes and no answers. However, if you are receiving Social Security disability you cannot collect a separate Social Security retirement benefit.

Some individuals who apply for Social Security disability are lucky enough to also be retirement age. For these individuals, Social Security allows them to file for their retirement while they wait for a disability decision. If Social Security approves them for disability benefits, their retirement benefit will convert to a disability benefit that pays a higher monthly benefit.

As you can see, these individuals would not be collecting Social Security retirement and Social Security disability at the same time. The only exception to the above statement is that some individuals who do not qualify for Social Security disability because of lack of disability insured status may still be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits from the SSI disability program (a need based disability program), provided that the combined benefit amount does not exceed the SSI monthly benefit amount.

Of course, the answer to the question above changes if you consider other outside sources of disability benefits. Yes, you can receive Social Security benefits (disability, retirement, or widow/widower benefits), while your receive a private pension, long term disability benefits from your employer or insurance company, or short term disability benefits.

But a word of caution: most long term disability insurance providers as well as state or local government disability benefits are offset by the provider once an individual begins to receive a disability benefit from Social Security. Sometimes an individual can escape this offset if they are receiving Social Security retirement benefits, although most long-term disability providers force their beneficiaries to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

One other type of disability benefit can be received at the same time as Social Security disability and that is Workman’s Compensations benefits. This is the only situation in which Social Security imposes an offset of disability benefits, which may preclude an individual from receiving a monthly monetary benefit from Social Security (meaning they could not receive their actual monthly cash benefits due to the amount of their Workman’s Compensation benefits).

However, some individuals are still able to receive a reduced monthly benefit in addition to their Social Security disability. This is because Social Security adjusts their offset once an individual settles their Workman’s Compensation claim so that individuals are able to receive more of their Social Security disability benefits. All Workman’s Compensation ends when an individual reaches full retirement age, because the Workman’s compensation offset does not apply to Social Security retirement benefits.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Social Security Back Pay
How much information should you put on a disability application ?
Appealing a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Claim Denied the Second Time
Application for Disability - applying for benefits


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