Let’s assume you suffered a serious back injury at work. You filed for worker’s compensation benefits and were unable to work for a year. When you saw that the worker’s compensation benefits were running out and you remained unable to work, you filed for Social Security disability benefits. Two appeals into the process of trying to qualify for these benefits, you decide to undergo back surgery. Then, post-surgery, you get better. You want to try to work but you are scared. What if you withdraw your application for disability but are unable to sustain long term work?
The good news here is that you have several options. Option one is to simply contact the SSA and withdraw the application for disability benefits. If you live in Vacaville, Fairfield or Suisun City, you can call your local SSA office at 866-964-5021 and ask to withdraw the application. If you live in Vallejo, your local SSA office can be reached at 888-808-5487.
With that said, I do not recommend withdrawing your application before you are certain that you can sustain long term work. Instead, I recommend that you let your claim proceed forward while you try to work. That way, if you decide you cannot continue within the required timeframes, you can continue to pursue your claim for disability without having to start the entire process over. If you have questions regarding the timeframes for trial work periods, give me a call. There is a lot to understanding the SSA rules on this issue. It is also a good idea to keep notes on what accommodations (if any) had to be made for you to return to work. Journal how the work aggravated your condition and what things you were not able to do. All of this information can be extremely helpful in developing your disability case if you decide you cannot continue working.
There may also be a third option for this situation. If you are out of work for more than a year, but then recover and are able to return to work, you may qualify for a “fixed-period” of disability benefits. Depending upon the monies you received from worker’s compensation or other disability sources, this may or may not be a good option for you. Your situation would need to be reviewed by an expert. However, if you did not receive other disability benefits such as worker’s compensation or state disability insurance, you should absolutely consider modifying your claim to a “fixed-period” claim. An expert can help you do that.
Now let’s look at another scenario. Let’s assume you filed for Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 because the economy tanked and you lost our job. You figured that your only choice was to retire and collect what you could from the SSA. Then, you decided to go into business for yourself because you were bored stiff sitting at home “retired”. So, you wanted to “un-retire”. Scenarios such as this do happen more than one would think. Waiting until your full retirement age makes a lot of sense, if you can afford it. The benefit is generally about 25% more and it goes up from there the longer you wait. Thankfully, if you act sooner rather than later, you have some options.
If you make the decision to “un-retire” and stop drawing the benefits within the first twelve months, you can simply pay the money back. There is no interest to be paid when doing this. Your application can be withdrawn. With that said, you can only do this once in your lifetime. If you live in Vacaville, Fairfield or Suisun City, your local SSA office is located at 700 Main Street, Suite 220 in Suisun City, CA. That is where you would call or visit to start this process. If you live in Vallejo, your local office is located at 106 Plaza Drive, Suite A in Vallejo, CA.
If you are outside of the 12-month window to withdraw your application, you can bump up your monthly benefit amount by continuing to work. Social Security payments are calculated based on the 35 years of work that you earned the most income. So, if you continue to work and earn more than you did on average than during the previous 35-year average, then your benefit would increase as it would be recalculated again after you have retired and started collecting benefits. I should note that if you are working, collecting retirement and between the ages of 62-66, your earnings could cause your Social Security retirement benefit to be temporarily withheld. However, once you reach your full retirement age, you can work as much as you want without the risk of any benefit withholdings.
There are a lot of other situations that can arise, other than these examples. I get calls from folks in Vacaville, Fairfield, Vallejo and surrounding cities concerning widow’s benefits, divorced spousal benefits, disability benefits for children, auxiliary benefits, etc. If you think it may be the right time to file for any form of Social Security benefits, give us a call today for a free, no pressure chat about benefit programs may be right for you.