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Coming up with a strategy to obtain Social Security benefits can be complicated. Add in disability or a pension, and it becomes even more complex. However, there are pension and disability requesting strategies available to ensure that you and your family are taken care of. Speaking with financial advisors and experienced attorneys can help sort out some of the confusion.

Maximizing Social Security Retirement and/or Disability Benefits

If one spouse is already claiming Social Security retirement benefits, the disabled partner may be able to receive a spousal benefit instead of a disability benefit as soon as they reach age 62. In other words, if your spouse is receiving Social Security disability benefits, you may be able to receive your spouse’s retirement benefits at this age if you are caring for their child (under 16 or disabled) and also receiving benefits.

Depending upon other factors (such as ages and work), this may provide more of a benefit. Either partner could also choose to “file and suspend” (or file for Social Security retirement benefits but then suspend payments for them) once they reach retirement age, which would maximize the survivor benefit. Once the disabled partner reaches retirement age, these disability benefits then turn into retirement benefits.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits, Social Security will routinely pay that amount first. However, if your spouse’s benefit is higher, you will receive a combination of benefits equal to that higher amount.

When disability beneficiaries reach full retirement age, Social Security disability benefits turn into retirement benefits. However, the payout amount rarely changes when this happens, as the law bars one person from receiving both retirement and disability benefits at the same time.

Compassionate Allowances

Compassionate allowances provide for Social Security to quickly identify the most disabled individuals (and the most severe diseases) in order to arrange for faster payments based on available medical information. This is a part of the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Public Pensions

Pensions for many government employees (such as teachers) are not tied to paying into Social Security. This means that your pension could affect your benefits. In some instances, your Social Security benefits could be reduced by as much as half, depending on how many years you worked at other jobs that paid into Social Security and your average earnings. In other instances, the spousal or survivor benefit could be reduced by two-thirds of the pension. Depending upon the circumstances, sometimes it makes sense to claim your own benefit, and sometimes it makes more sense to claim a spousal benefit.

Put Solnick & Levin LLC on your side

Time is of the essence when it comes to the legal side of Social Security benefits. Hiring a skilled attorney as early as possible increases your ability to protect your rights and maximize the value of your case. The experienced attorneys at Solnick & Levin can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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