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Can I apply for both Medical Disability and Early Social Security?

Hello, I am new here so forgive me if my question is posted in the wrong place. I am 62 yo with severe COPD. I have been working full time as a Nurse for 30 years. In May of this year my Pulmonologist suggested I apply for Medical Disability, even wrote a letter for me to give to my employer. Due to financial concerns, I have not done anything with it. I am now at a point where I need to apply. My question is can I apply for both early retirement Security and Med Disability. I understand I cannot collect both but everything I have read say Disability can take up to two years to get and I thought perhaps my early retirement could see me through until I’m approved for Med. Disability. Not sure where to start but hate to lose my job and have no income to help gap the waiting time. Any answers or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks, Mary


Community Answers
  • marylpn author
    3 months ago

    This is embarrassing but I have to admit I just found my way back to this site ;( Wanted to update that I filed for early SS in February and was able to also file for Medical Disability at the same time. Received my regular SS check in March and in August was notified that I was approved for Medical Disability which increased my monthly amount recieved. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to go through the appeal process and was approved on the first attempt. Some have mentioned that even though I am collecting SSDI that I could still increase my income by finding something that I am capable of doing as long as the income is below a certain amount. Is that correct? I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to respond to my questions and will mark this in my favorites so I don’t lose it again:)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi Marylpn and please, no need to be embarrassed!
    All of us here are not necessarily ‘computer whizzes’, but most of us all do well once getting used to the site and the technology. We do appreciate you bringing us up-to-date on your social security process – it’s great to hear you were approved without having to go through the appeals process. As for your concern about still seeking employment, I believe you are correct. You should be able to work as long as your earnings fall below that magic figure. You may want to check directly with the social security administration so you can be sure the figure you are told is accurate. I believe they have local and 800 numbers and are not that difficult to get through to. Good luck and please do check back (now that we are in your ‘favorite places’) and let us know how you did. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Letty
    1 year ago

    You are welcome. Best of luck to you. And don’t give up on SS. Sometimes they just want to make you jump through hoops. I hope you’re able to get disability instead of early retirement. It will make a big financial difference in the long run. On the other hand, live for today, we never know when it will be our last and you should enjoy every minute that you can!!

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    That’s a great question, marylpn. I won’t claim to be an expert on this subject, but there are a few things you should consider.

    1. If you retire early, social security will reduce your benefits by a certain percentage for the rest of your life.

    2. If you’re found to be eligible for disability before you retire, your social security benefits will not be reduced.

    3. Medicare is not available to you until the age of 65, unless you become eligible for Social Security Disability.

    There are lawyers that specialize in these types of cases; most will take an initial consultation at no cost. It might be worth checking into.

    The government website for disability has quite a bit of information that you may find helpful. However, in the end, you’ll probably need advice from an expert. I wish you the very best. Please let us know how you make out.

    https://www.ssa.gov/disability/

    Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • Letty
    1 year ago

    If you have severe COPD l would try for disability. As Lyn said, applying for early retirement will reduce your income forever. It took me 3 months for my disability to be approved. Check with Social Security as you can only make a small amount of money to qualify. If you make too much then the government doesn’t think you are unable to work. I went directly to SS and filed it was actually pretty easy. As for a doctor’s note, they usually send you to a doctor of their choice, but l would take the note with you. If you are awarded SS, there is a 6 month waiting period before you will start getting paid. And now it is age 66, not 65 before you are considered full retirement age. Or older depending on your current age. Good luck.

  • marylpn author
    1 year ago

    I actually went to the SS office and had a lot of my questions answered. I found out that I had to be actually either not working or making a very minimum amount before I could apply for SSID. She said I could apply for early retirement and at the same time the application will ask if I am disabled. If my claim is denied for SSID then at least I can appeal and have some income from SS coming in to help keep me afloat. So, I turned in my 2 week notice for Medical Disability Retirement and next Friday will be my last day. Due to the severity of my COPD, (O2 sats drop to upper 70’s low 80’s going up the stairs or walking a short distance ) and I work in an environment that is problematic with mold issues. I decided this would be the best course for me. My Pulmonary Doctor has said he would like to see me use O2 throughout the day instead of just at night. As a Nurse that is just not feasible. All that plus I would be doing my patients an injustice as I would not be able to perform CPR if needed. Thankfully there are other staff there that would but it is part of my job requirement. Thank you for taking the time comment, I truly appreciate it!

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