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I started collecting Social Security disability at age 58. Can I also collect Social Security retirement when I am 62?

En español | No. If you are eligible for more than one kind of benefit, Social Security will pay you whichever is higher. 

In most cases, that’s going to be disability. Regardless of your age when you start getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you receive what you would get if you claimed benefits at full retirement age (FRA) — the age at which you are entitled to 100 percent of the benefit calculated from your average monthly earnings. (FRA Is currently 66 and rising gradually to 67 for people born in 1960 or later.) 

If you turn 62 in 2020, you’re eligible for only 71.7 percent of that retirement benefit, so you’re probably better off sticking with SSDI. When you reach FRA, the disability benefit automatically converts to a retirement benefit, and you’ll get the same monthly amount you’ve been getting.

A possible exception arises if, along with SSDI, you are collecting workers’ compensation, or a “public disability benefit” from a government job at which you didn’t pay Social Security taxes. These could shrink your SSDI payment to the point where you might be better off switching to the reduced retirement benefit at 62.

Keep in mind

  • Your full retirement benefit is based on your average monthly income in your 35 highest-earning years, adjusted for historical wage trends. Since you may have worked fewer than 35 years when you claimed disability benefits, the calculation for SSDI is different: Your full benefit is derived from your adjusted monthly average income from age 21 until the year you became disabled.

Updated February 20, 2020

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