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Should you retire early or seek disability benefits? You cannot do both. Many people who can no longer work due to disability, experience confusion about whether to retire early or to apply for disability benefits. What option you chose can have serious consequences for your income over time.

While it is correct that the SSA administers both benefits, qualifying for the two benefits is completely different. Disability benefits are for those who will never work again. Retirement benefits can be taken. Even though you take out retirement, you can still do some work with minimal penalty. Most importantly, you cannot elect to take early retirement, for example, and then decide to apply for disability benefits later.

retire early or disability benefits


Disability benefits are for individuals who can no longer work.  However, early retirement is often taken because of poor health. But, as you may know, electing early retirement benefits at the age of 62 reduces the amount of your retirement benefit forever.  If you are thinking of taking early retirement because of a disability, it is better to apply for disability benefits.

Why? Because the monthly amount of disability benefits is the same amount of money you receive if you retire at your full retirement age. For most people, that age is 67.

Therefore, if you are receiving disability benefits, you will get a higher monthly benefit amount. Subsequently, your eventual retirement amount will be higher too. You will also receive more money over your lifetime.

If you have a disability that prevents you from working, take a close look at whether or not you should retire early. Taking early retirement can result in a significant loss of income that you may need later in life. Filing for disability benefits is almost always the better choice.

Most people who live into their sixties will live past ninety years old. That means that if you retire early, you will be living on a lower amount of money for approximately 30 years.

30 years is a long time to live on less money. Especially when you consider the fact that you should enjoy the money. Because, it is from your years of hard work.


If you need help choosing whether to retire early or collect disability benefits, then you have found the right law firm. Obviously, we think the better choice is to apply for disability benefits. However, this choice may depend on your personal circumstances. We can help. Learn more about the representatives at Cannon Disability Law on our About Us page.

For example, you may want to know that Dianna Cannon has been practicing Social Security law for thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have also won thousands of disability cases.

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Our specialists can help you apply for SSI disability benefits using the SSA’s website. However, we will need your help to apply for SSI benefits. Why? Because only you know your personal financial information. SSI benefits require you to have minimal assets and monthly income.

Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. There are also many forms that will need to be filled out. Don’t worry. If you have questions about these forms, we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us today for help.


To receive disability benefits, a person must meet SSA’s definition of disability. You are only eligible for Social Security disability benefits, if your disability lasts one year or more. Likewise, you also are disabled if your condition will result in death. Additionally, after you apply for benefits you may also be eligible for back due or past due disability benefits.

Because the SSA’s definition of disability is so strict, those who receive benefits are among the most severely impaired in our country. In fact, those receiving disability benefits are more than three times as likely to die in a given year as other people the same age.

At 55, if you start receiving disability benefits, then your chances of dying within five years from the onset of your disability is high. Depending on your gender, 1 in 6 men die after receiving disability benefits. Similarly, 1-in-8 women die within five years of the onset of their disabilities.

The truth is that 1-in-4 people in the United States becomes disabled before reaching retirement age. If this happens, then you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefit and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

In 2022, the average Social Security Disability monthly is $1,358. However, most recipients receive less money than that per month. Many law firms advertise that you can win more than $3000 a month in benefits. This is not correct.

Only 10% of SSD recipients receive more than $2,000 per month in benefits. If you have a family, you receive additional SSD benefits. For example, in 2022 the average monthly benefit for an SSD benefit recipient who has a spouse and children is $2,383 per month.


Remember, if you retire early at 62, then you are going to receive a lower monthly benefit amount for the rest of your life. This is true even if you retire sometime between the ages of 62 and 67. Every year that you wait to retire increases your retirement benefit amount. As long as you are working.

However, if SSA determines you are eligible for disability benefits, then the amount of your monthly disability amount will be the same amount as your full retirement benefit. You read that correctly. Your monthly disability benefit is the same amount of money that you would receive if you retire at 67 years old.

If you receive disability benefits, then they will pay out until you reach the age of 67. Once you are 67 years old, or full retirement age, then your monthly payment becomes “retirement” instead of “disability.”


Obviously, it is better to file for disability benefits if you cannot work due to a disability. However, you do not have to obtain disability benefits on your own. Cannon Disability Law can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you navigate the appeal stages of the disability process.

When you leave that up to us, you can focus on your health. Our attorneys and specialists can:

  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Collect your medical records
  • Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your disability hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and cross-examine vocational and medical witnesses. Read more about vocational experts here. Learn more about medical expert testimony here.
  • Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your disability application online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to finish it. It is best to complete the application quickly. You don’t want to run out the 6 month deadline. If you have questions about whether you should retire early or collect disability benefits, then contact Cannon Disability Law today.


If you want to learn more about Cannon Disability’s advocates, then read our About Us page. There you will find information about our representatives. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. Likewise, she has also won thousands of disability cases.

Dianna Cannon has years of experience representing disability claimants. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Ms. Cannon also has licenses in a number of states. For example, she has a law license in California, Utah, Nevada, and Washington State.

Additionally, Brett Bunkall also has tons of experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. Mr. Bunkall has won thousands of disability hearings. He is an expert. Similarly, all of our representatives are experts. You can trust us to help you receive disability benefits. Before you retire early, decide whether or not to collect disability benefits. Call us now.

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