Age is the most common factor in dozens of dangerous diseases. As our bodies age, processes start to slow and we become increasingly more susceptible to illnesses and severe side effects.
For those approaching retirement age who have started to feel these effects, it can be enticing to want to call it quits and cash out with early retirement.
However, for those with severe impairments, there may be a better option. If you are in need of physical or financial assistance because of worsening health problems, Social Security benefits may be for you. While speaking with a disability attorney is the best way to assess your qualifications, you can also begin the process on your own.
Problems with Early Retirement
The age to receive full retirement benefits in the United States varies by when you were born. When a person retires, they receive full benefits in proportion to how much money they’ve contributed to Social Security in their working years.
For those who wish to retire early, benefits can be received starting as early as 62 — it is a helpful program for those who need the money earlier than the federal required age. However, the early retirement program does have its drawbacks, including:
A Reduction in benefits: Because early retirees do not contribute funds to Social Security until they are 67, they receive a deduction in their benefit amount. Deductions increase for every month before 67 that retire early.
At earliest (62) benefits are reduced to 25% lower than the normal benefit rate.
Fixed benefit rates for life. The deduction made to early retirement benefits is permanent. This means that, at age 67 or older, the retiree will still receive only a percentage of the benefits they could have been making if they’d waited until 67.
Between this and the deductions already taken out for “gap years” where recipients don’t work, some retirees find themselves with insufficient retirement funds and are forced to earn money in other ways.
Delayed Medicare. Especially for those looking to use retirement benefits for financial support of health issues, it is important to note that Medicare benefits do not kick in early. Like with all retirees, Medicare benefits begin at age 65.
Benefits of Social Security Disability
For those seeking early retirement to receive financial assistance for medical problems, it is wise to first apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). This program is designed for people of all ages who find themselves unable to work and function normally due to a disability.
SSDI recipients receive full monthly benefits and the potential to receive Medicare prior to age 65, depending on when the application is approved. Qualification for SSDI depends on two main categories:
- Medical Qualification. Applicants must demonstrate severe impairment in order to prove they are qualified for benefits. Approved disabilities are listed in the “Blue Book” (provided on the Social Security main website), but unlisted illnesses can also be approved if enough evidence is provided.
- Technical Qualification. To qualify here, applicants must have contributed enough money (called “credits”) to Social Security in their working years to qualify for Social Security. Most people considering early retirement have already met this requirement, but it is always wise to check.
When you are ready to apply, applications can be made online on the Social Security main website. Applications can also be filled out over the phone via dictation to an agent, or an appointment can be set up in person at your local Social Security office.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney
If SSDI sounds right for you, it may be wise to consider speaking with a Social Security disability attorney. A disability attorney is an irreplaceable resource when filing out applications, keeping paperwork organized, and aiding you in the appeals process if necessary.
To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, speak with a disability attorney today.