Back in January 2012 (soon after I turned 62), I started my Social Security retirement benefits taking reduced payments. I cut back on hours at the job I had for 30 years, earning just over $14,000 for 2012, because I wanted to stay below that year’s limit for earnings to collect my retirement without any more reduction. I worked until this month (May 2013) when I had to quit completely because my back gave out; my doc says I can’t work anymore. Someone told me I should get social security disability, but I didn’t think I could since I already get retirement. Can I get disability in addition to my retirement?
Door County, WI
Greetings from Kyoto, Japan! I’m here at the Golden Pavilion, which is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, and it attracts a large number of visitors annually. Right now, I’m strolling through the beautiful gardens and will take a break to answer your question.
You may apply for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) even though you already are receiving Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB). If you are found to be disabled and are otherwise qualified for DIB, your benefit amount would be higher. This entitlement situation is called RIB/DIB.
Because you started your RIB right after age 62, your benefit payment was reduced by about 25% of what it would have been if you had waited to start drawing at your Full Retirement Age (FRA) which is now 66. The amount a person can receive by waiting until full retirement age is called the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA); normally a beneficiary’s DIB payment is the full PIA, regardless of when DIB entitlement starts.
However, for someone (such as you) who has received reduced RIB before DIB entitlement, the DIB payment is normally the PIA, reduced by the amount the RIB would be reduced if the beneficiary had reached FRA in the first month of DIB entitlement. So, in your case, if Social Security finds that you became disabled beginning in May 2013, your DIB entitlement date will be November 2013 (five full months after your disability onset.) That means you will have received reduced RIB payments from January 2012 through October 2013: 22 months. Your DIB payment would then be your PIA reduced by 22 months at the rate of 5/9ths of 1% per month (the same rate used for early RIB); so the reduction in your case would be 12.2%. (POMS RS 00615.410)
RIB/DIB situations can differ depending on when a person started RIB and became disabled. For example, if someone who has been receiving reduced RIB can establish a disability entitlement date before RIB started, the DIB payment would not be reduced at all. And the beneficiary would receive the difference between the RIB payment amount and the DIB payment amount for the months since the RIB started.
Even though a RIB beneficiary may apply for DIB with potential retroactivity of a year of entitlement, a higher DIB payment would normally not result for someone who has a potential disability entitlement date past his/her full retirement age. RIB/DIB scenarios that involve factors such as multiple PIA’s, a disability freeze, deductions due to pension offset or excess work earnings, or entitlement, to other types of Title II benefits can be more complicated.
In your case, Ray, you should contact Social Security as soon as you can to apply for DIB.
Well, back to my sightseeing. I have to see what is happening on the other side of the reflecting pond.