What is a Disability Freeze?

In my last blog, I described Mary, a 63-year-old woman who quit work due to her health and opted for early retirement benefits.   Then, she applied for and got approved for disability benefits. Her approval recognized that her disability started before she started to collect early retirement. Because Mary’s disability began before she was eligible for early retirement, she can apply for a  “disability freeze.”

A “disability freeze” disregards any low earning or zero earning years on her record for the period that her disability prevented her from working. This is important because both SSDI and retirement benefits are calculated based on one’s earnings. Years with no or low earnings on her record would otherwise reduce her benefits.  The “disability freeze” protects her.