What is a disability “freeze?”

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2021 | SSDI

The rules governing Social Security Disability Insurance can seem complex, but the idea behind the system is relatively simple. Essentially, if you work for a certain amount of time and experience a disability that no longer allows you to work, those credits you accumulated during the years you were able to work will help the government provide you a living wage now that you live with a disability. 

However, the situation is not always so cut-and-dry as “ability to work at 100% with no effects from a disability” and “completely unable to work at all due to a disability.” According to the Social Security Administration, if you are able to work still but only at a reduced capacity due to an encroaching disability, you may be eligible for a disability freeze. 

What is a disability freeze?

The amount of Social Security Disability Insurance the government gives you depends on how much money you paid into the system during your working years. In the event that you have a slowly encroaching disability like blindness, there may be a period of time where you are able to work but not at the same capacity. A disability freeze “freezes” your overall contributions to Social Security at the level when you were earning unencumbered by your disability. 

How can the disability freeze help me?

Without a disability freeze, your encroaching disability may end up negatively impacting the amount of money the government gives you in disability insurance. A disability freeze allows you to combat this by “locking in” your higher earning years. Thus, you can use your non-disabled working years as a benchmark for Social Security Disability Insurance rather than your entire lifetime average.