Why You Should Get Temporary Disability – And Not Retire Early – When You Have Chronic Knee Pain

Law Blog

The knees are one of the most important joints in the body, and chronic knee pain can make your life very difficult. As you age, you are more likely to experience this condition and struggle to get through work. However, you just turned 62 and are thinking early retirement is the way to go. Instead, you should get temporary disability to keep your Social Security benefits intact as much as possible.

Chronic Knee Pain Can Make Work Nearly Impossible 

Pain in your knees is going to impact your ability to work, no matter what your career choice. For example, physical labor is going to be nearly impossible to handle, as it will require you to stand and work your body for extended periods.

However, even office workers can be affected by knee pain. Sitting for extended periods can exacerbate your knee pain and make it very difficult to stand up at the end of the day. At the age of 62, you are sick of dealing with this pain and just want to retire. But doing so will seriously impact your Social Security benefits in a way that can impact you for the rest of your life.

Retiring Early May Impact Your Payouts

The pain your knees may be too severe for you to handle, which is why early retirement seems so promising. After all, you can retire as soon as you hit 62 – why should you wait until you reach 66 or older? Unfortunately, if you retire early, you are cutting severely into your Social Security benefits.

For example, retiring at 62 will cut your benefits by 25 percent. If you were going to receive $1,600 per month in benefits, that could take you down by $400 a month. This reduction is designed to discourage early retirement so that people continue to contribute to Social Security. It is understandable from that perspective, but it puts you in a tough position. Thankfully, temporary disability may help you out here.

Temporary Disability Might Be Better Than Retirement

So while you might be able to retire early due to degenerative knee disease, your best idea is to either wait it out or go on temporary disability while you get surgery. This step is critical because it can help you avoid dipping into your Social Security retirement benefits and can help you get the surgery you need to keep working for a few more years.

You need to prove, though, that your knees make it impossible for you to work. A doctor's order describing your pain – and the ways surgery would help – may be necessary. You may also need statements from your employer to ensure you get the benefits you need. This temporary disability won't be as much as your normal employment wages but will keep you solvent until you can get back to work.

And then you can retire at 66 and get the full Social Security retirement benefits that you deserve. So if you are suffering from painful knees and you are thinking about retiring, talk to a Social Security officer about the possibility of disability. It could just save you thousands of dollars over the rest of your life.


8 October 2018

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