Early Retirement vs Disability Claim For Older Worker:

Social Security Disability vs Early Retirement

Question:     “I am 62 years old and I had planned to keep working until my full retirement age of 66, and maybe even longer, but I had an accident and can no longer work.  Should I file for Social Security Disability Benefits, or should I just claim early Social Security retirement benefits”?


Answer:        Social Security Disability benefits are based on your Social Security retirement benefit at your full retirement age, which is between age 66 and 67 for most people. 

If you retire before your full retirement age your monthly retirement benefit is reduced.

For example, you can begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, but Social Security retirement benefits only pay 75% of the full benefit if you retire at age 62.

By comparison, Social Security Disability benefits pay 100% of the full retirement benefit – even at age 62.  

Additionally, someone over age 62 receiving Social Security Disability benefits can still defer their Social Security retirement benefits until they reach full retirement age, thereby ensuring that their Social Security retirement benefits will not be reduced because they began drawing disability benefits prior to full retirement age.

So basically, if qualify for disability at age 62, your benefit will be your full retirement benefit, and this will simply transition from Disability to Retirement when you reach full retirement age.

So, for workers at least age 62 but below the age of full retirement who become disabled, it’s usually better to apply for Social Security disability benefits.  

Every person’s situation is unique, and the decision to apply for disability benefits or early retirement will be based on your personal situation, but in general it is better to apply for disability benefits immediately if you are disabled an cannot work.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have about Social Security Disability.