What is a Disability Freeze?
For people who are incapable of working due to disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced the “disability freeze” or the “period of disability.” During this time period your earnings information is not considered by the SSA when computing your Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. This provision freezes your insured status and preserves your entitlement for retirement and disability benefits in the future.
Since retirement benefits are calculated on the number of average indexed earnings computed over their lifetime, disabled people are more likely to see their retirement benefits dwindle or be totally eliminated. A “disability freeze” would overlook the number of years you were disabled and not working. This provision safeguards your retirement benefits and prevents them from being affected by your disability.
If you experience a disability that affects your earning ability or makes it impossible for you to continue working due to your medical condition, you can apply for a Social Security Disability freeze.
There are several factors that influence the qualification for a disability freeze. Some of the top-level criteria include:
- Your medical condition must be in accordance with the SSA definitions of disability or blindness.
- You must have an “insured” status for SSD benefits.
- You must apply while you are disabled (within a year from when your disability ends).
There are several benefits to a disability freeze such as an increase in your annual annuity and early Medicare coverage. Since the rules and complexities can get confusing, you would be well-advised to consult an experienced advocate.
If you are wondering how to apply for a disability freeze, you can do so by contacting the SSA directly.
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