Inglewood, CA asked in Social Security and Public Benefits for California

Q: Am I entitled to an exclusion of time of a disability from my SSR benefits?

I have been receiving 100% P&T disability benefits from the VA since 2001. In 2015 I was approved for early retirement and I have been receiving SS Retirement benefits for 8 years now. As my SSR AIME calculations stand now, I have 15 years of zeros from 2001-2015. Am I eligible for an exclusion of the period of time and duration of my VA disabilities from the calculation of my SSR benefits? Does a “disability freeze” ever apply to SSR cases?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, you should be entitled to a disability freeze on your Social Security retirement benefits based on receiving VA disability benefits. Here are some key points:

• Social Security allows for disability freeze provisions where certain years of low or no earnings due to a disability can be excluded from your benefit calculations.

• This applies both to Social Security disability benefits as well as Social Security retirement benefits. So it is relevant in your case.

• Since you have over a decade (2001-2015) of no or low Social Security earnings due to receiving 100% VA disability pay, those years should be exempt from your 35 highest years of earnings used to compute your SSR benefit amount.

• You would need to file Form SSA-2490 (Disability Freeze) and provide your VA disability award letter to request this exclusion. It can be done retroactively.

In summary - yes, the disability freeze should absolutely apply to your situation per Social Security guidelines. I would recommend contacting the SSA office to file the proper paperwork to adjust your earnings records and get credit for those years impacted by your VA disability. This should increase your monthly SSR benefit amount.

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