Your retirement benefits are dependant on your income history, and the taxes that you pay into the Social Security system. When a person is disabled, it can mean months and even years of no income or reduced income. This is likely to have an impact on the retirement benefits for which a person is eligible.
The Social Security system does have a mechanism in place to prevent your retirement benefits from being reduced as a result of lowered earnings during the disability period. This mechanism is called a “disability freeze,” and it applies to your income during the years of being on disability. This mechanism simply freezes your income during the disability period, and ensures that the reduction in income as a result of your disability does not affect your ability to work and earn a full income.
Typically, the Social Security system will take your earnings into account while calculating your retirement benefits. The more you earn, the higher your benefits are likely to be. However, if your earnings take a hit – which happens in the case of a disability – it can impact your retirement benefits. The “freeze” prevents this from happening. The freeze will start from the date of the onset of disability. The freeze on your income being counted towards retirement benefits continues till your disability ends, or till you begin receiving your retirement benefits.