Can You Get Social Security Retirement and Disability at the Same Time?

In most cases, no. Once you've reached full retirement age, you can't file for Social Security disability benefits.
Lee Huffman
By Lee Huffman 
Edited by Claire Tsosie

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In general, you cannot get Social Security retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits at the same time. Typically, disability benefits are for pre-retirement beneficiaries, and retirement benefits are for workers at least 62 years old. After full retirement age, you cannot file for Social Security disability benefits.

However, early retirees may receive disability benefits to supplement their early retirement benefits if the Social Security Administration approves their application.

For example, let's say you retire at 62 and retirement benefit is $1,200 per month (instead of the full retirement benefit of $1,600 if you wait until you reach full retirement age). You become disabled and file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Disability benefits would supplement up to $400 per month to reach your maximum benefit allowed.

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What to know about Social Security retirement benefits

Most (but not all) U.S. workers (and their employers) pay into the Social Security retirement system via Social Security taxes withheld from their paychecks. Workers can claim retirement benefits as early as age 62 years old. The Social Security Administration permanently reduces the monthly benefit for people who retire before reaching full retirement age. It also permanently increases monthly benefits for people who wait to file (up to age 70).

Social Security retirement benefits typically don't replace your full income when you retire. Most retirees supplement their Social Security retirement income with distributions from retirement plans (such as 401(k)s or deferred compensation plans), workplace pensions, investment properties or other savings. Some people also continue working to supplement their income.

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What to know about Social Security disability benefits

The Social Security Administration created disability benefits to assist workers who leave their jobs due to disability before they reach full retirement age. Disability benefits are available for workers who:

  • Worked long enough to meet certain thresholds.

  • Paid Social Security taxes on their earnings.

Eligible family members may also claim disability benefits based on your work history — for instance, if you have a spouse or ex-spouse filing for spousal benefits, or a spouse or children who qualify for survivors benefits after you die.

Family members can receive up to 50% of your disability benefit amount.

If multiple family members receive benefits, the collective total your family can receive is about 150% to 180% of your disability benefit Family Benefits. Accessed Sep 20, 2023.
. (The amount an ex-spouse receives isn't included in that limit and doesn't affect what other family members will get.)

Can a retired person file for disability benefits?

Once you’ve reached full retirement age, you are no longer eligible to file for disability benefits.

However, if have reached early retirement age, you can apply for both early retirement and disability benefits. Disability claims often take time to get approved, so applying for early retirement benefits provides income in the meantime. When your disability claim is approved, you'll receive retroactive payments for the difference between your monthly disability income and early retirement benefits.

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What happens if you’re receiving disability benefits when you reach retirement age?

If you’re collecting Social Security disability benefits and reach full retirement age, your benefits will automatically change to retirement benefits. Current laws don't allow a person to receive full retirement and disability benefits at the same time Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed Sep 20, 2023.

Although you can file for retirement benefits as early as 62 years old, there’s no advantage in doing so if you are collecting disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits provide the same monthly payments as full retirement benefits. Filing early for retirement benefits instead of continuing disability benefits until full retirement age would permanently lower your monthly payouts.

How does collecting disability benefits affect your retirement benefits?

If you receive disability benefits for a long period of time, it will likely reduce your retirement benefits. But you might be able to qualify for other types of assistance.

Monthly Social Security benefits are based on your eligible wages, how many years you worked and when you retire. Social Security includes the highest 35 years of income when calculating benefits. If you don’t have 35 years of income, the missing years count as zero


When you collect Social Security disability benefits, that income doesn't count toward your Social Security-eligible income totals. If you don’t have earned income for a year, your total eligible income for Social Security calculations is zero for that year.

If your earned income is low, see if you're eligible for Supplemental Security Income, a Social Security program that provides additional monthly payouts to those with income below certain limits.

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