Interaction of Early Retirement and Social Security Disability Benefits - Melvin
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Interaction of Early Retirement and Social Security Disability Benefits

by Melvin Cook

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D reached the age of 62 in April 1967. Less than a year later, on February 21, 1968, he suffered a debilitating stroke and congestive heart failure. On March 8th, 1968 he file an application for a period of social security disability and disability insurance benefits. At the time, the waiting period for disability benefits was six months (currently it is five months). Thus, D’s disability benefits began in September 1968.

In April, 1968 D was awarded old age social security insurance benefits. His primary insurance amount, which is the amount he was entitled to if he had retired at age 65 rather than taking early retirement, was $111.40. However, because he began drawing retirement benefits early, his benefits were reduced by 5/9 of 1% for each month he was entitled to benefits prior to attaining age 65. Because he became entitled to early retirement benefits 25 month prior to attaining age 65, his benefit were reduced by 5/9 of 1% multiplied by 25; or $111.40 x ((5/9 x .01) x 25) = $15.47. Pursuant to statute, this number was rounded down to the next nearest multiple of $.10, or $15.40. Thus, D’s early retirement benefits were $111.40 – $15.40 = $96 per month. He received this amount until August 1968.

Beginning in September 1968, D’s disability insurance benefits kicked in. Pursuant to statute, if one is simultaneously entitled to both disability insurance benefits and old age insurance benefits, only the higher of the two benefits may be paid, unless one elects to have the lower benefit paid, which D did not.

In calculating D’s disability insurance benefit it was necessary to give effect to the disability “freeze”, meaning that the period of disability needed to excluded in calculating his primary insurance amount. Thus D’s disability benefit amount was calculated by determining what his primary insurance amount would have been if he had attained age 65 in the year of his disability (1968), rather than in 1970. This amount was $122.20.

D’s early retirement benefit that was reduced by 5/9 of 1% times 25, was $105.30 per month based on the new primary insurance amount of $122.20. This is the amount of old age insurance benefit D was entitled to beginning March 1968.

Just as D’s old age insurance benefit was reduced because of his early retirement, his disability benefit needed to be reduced for age. Had D attained age 65 in September 1968, he would have been entitled to only six months of old age insurance benefits before that time. Thus, his disability insurance benefits were reduced by 5/9 of 1% multiplied by 6; or ((5/9 x .01) x 6) x $122.20 = $4.07, reduced to the nearest multiple of $.10, or $4.00. Thus, D’s disability insurance benefit was $118.20 per month beginning September, 1968.

Because D did not elect to receive the lower of the two benefits (who the heck would?!), this was the amount to which he was entitled beginning September, 1968.

See Social Security Ruling (SSR) 69-5.

This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.

Contact a Salt Lake City Attorney Committed to Protecting Your Rights

When it comes the family law and social security disability, each client and case is different. It is also important to select an attorney with the experience, skills and professionalism required to address your legal issues. To learn more, contact the Salt Lake City law offices of Melvin A. Cook and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.

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