Happy Saturday! With the first half off for a mother-daughter date, and some stunning February weather, it is hard to get back in here to catch up on some needed work. But before I go, this very important piece of SSDIB information that so many are missing and paying the price for. Here it goes:
Not working and not becoming legally disabled...
If a worker stops working due to whatever reason, including health, but never files for SSDIB (maybe he has workers compensation benefits, or LTD coverage, a huge personal injury settlement or a well-earning spouse) or fails to prevail on an SSDIB claim, he is likely crushing his future Social Security Retirement amount. Yes, he would remain "insured" for some minimal amount, if he already got his 40 quarterly earnings credits, but whatever his estimate (see Annual Social Security Earnings Statement) said, when he stopped working, it would no longer apply, as it pre-supposes continuing to work til 62 at that same rate of earnings.
Retirement estimate counts 35 years of workable life
Retirement is based on the top 35 years of income, so if you only have 20 years of work income, then a bunch of zeros, expect a massive hit. Or if you had close to 35, but the first 10 were low wage, and your last were much higher (and expected to continue to be higher for another 10), your benefit will be notably reduced. And if you never worked the 10 years to get your 40 credits, you end up with no retirement benefit at all from that work record. You can only fix this if you file and win.
Take home point: If you become disabled, FILE (and there are reasons for not delaying, as well), so you can be "officially" SS disabled. No other version of "disabled" suffices for this issue.
What? You don't want to file pro se? I don't blame you. There are plenty of reasons not to wing this important legal matter on your own. Call us. We can help. Now.