David S. Kaplan, Esq., grew up in Collegeville and is a graduate of Perkiomen School, Ursinus College and The University of Pittsburgh School of Law.He has been a member of OWM since 1983 and resides in Chester County with his wife, Diana.

Mr. Kaplan isactive in the Collegeville Rotary as Past President and, most recently, Assistant Governor.He hasbeen a leader inmany community organizations and Montgomery Bar Assn. Committees and currently chairs the Montgomery Conflict Mediation Center.He authored the Estate Mate Planner with the The Executor's Job: A Guide for your Executor, now incorporated into the OWMLAW website.

Mr. Kaplan's areas of concentration are Estate Planning/Administration, Social Security Disability and Family Law.He is also an active mediator.

Phone: 610-323-2800
Fax: 610-323-2845
Email: dkaplan@owmlaw.com


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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.



In the September 2014 OWM Newsletter, you were provided with some historical and factual information concerning the inner workings of the Social Security Disability Program. In that article, we indicated that people in their fifties were twice as likely to become disabled as people in their forties and that people in their sixties are twice as likely to become disabled as people in their fifties. Many people who are in their early sixties and are finding it impossible to work on a regular basis due to physical and/or psychological problems, choose to take an early retirement. By doing this, they receive an immediate check and do not need to go through the cumbersome and often lengthy process of obtaining disability.

The person who takes early retirement as a replacement for disability is taking a major loss in income.

The life of Harry (Harry could also be Harriett)

Harry was born in December, 1952. In December, 2014, he turned 62. He has worked many years and has been reasonably successful now earning $60,000 a year. Harry has had a job most of his life that has required physical labor. He had some childhood injuries that involved his legs. Those legs are now aching with arthritis. He also has had a low back disc herniation which was surgically treated and has other bulging discs. He has treated with his family doctor and specialists who have discovered that due to all the physical problems he now is depressed and has anxiety. Harry’s condition is not unusual for someone in his age group. There are many other medical scenarios that could be described for people like Harry who cannot work any longer. His doctors certainly agree that he should not return to his job.

Harry knows that it will take months to process a successful Social Security Disability claim and that Social Security disability is very difficult to obtain. He decides to retire at the end of December and begin taking retirement. The amount is calculated at $1,177.00. Unfortunately, Harry failed to consider what he would have received on disability. His benefits under SSDI would have been $1,561.00. Had Harry decided to get some legal help, prepare for his disability claim, he should have received the full disability amount. Harry would have also preserved his full retirement benefits of $1,655.00 for when he is 66. By taking the early retirement, he lost $384.00 per month in disability. Disability would have continued until he is age 66, when the amount he received would have been $478.00 more than his age 62 retirement benefit.

Retirement calculation

Harry’s example teaches us two things. The first is not to take retirement early if you can’t work yet may qualify for disability. If you or someone that you know is in such a position, consult with an attorney who does disability work. The attorney should be able to give you a good idea as to whether there is a viable disability claim.

The second lesson from Harry is for everyone who’s looking at retirement. Harry receives $1,177 at age 62. At age 66 he receives $1,555 and at age 70 the amount would be $2,297. While not everyone can work until age 70 or afford to postpone receiving benefits until that age, the increases in benefits are at the rate of 8% per year. Even if the final years of your earning career are not as high as some earlier years, Social Security only uses the 35 highest years of earnings. When retiring at 62, you have income limits on what you can earn before the benefits from Social Security start to shrink. If you wait until 66, there are no penalties.

Another tip unknown to many is that if you are married and your spouse qualifies for retirement benefits, you may qualify for half of the retired spouse’s benefits at an age as early as 62. Some workers start taking one-half of their retired spouse’s Social Security income at age 66 and wait until they are 70 to take their own.

If you would care to discuss the above in detail, please call me at 610-323-2800 or email me at dkaplan@owmlaw.com. Also, please watch OWM's January 2015 Legal Talk program regarding Why Social Security Disability Claims Are Up and What We Are Doing With Them on our website here.

Upcoming Events

James C. Kovaleski, Esq., speaking at SCORE Business Planning Seminar on 2/2/15, New York Plaza Building, Basement, 244 East High Street, Pottstown, PA (contact SCORE at 610-327-2673).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., presenter at Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Estate and Elder Law Symposium on Essentials of Medicaidon 2/11/15 in Philadelphia, PA, and on 2/17/15 in Mechanicsburg, PA (contact PBI at 1-800-247-4724).

David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars (6:30p.m.-8:30p.m.) at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 3/25/15 entitled "Starting Your Own Business" and on 4/29/15 entitled "Buying and Selling Real Estate in PA" (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at West Chester B. Reed Henderson High School, West Chester, PA, on 3/25/15 entitled "Elder Law Issues" ;and at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 4/8/15 entitled "Elder Law Issues"; and at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 4/22/15 entitled "Beyond the Simple Will" (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).

Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website here.

Read Legal Ease every first and third Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.


O'Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C.

41 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Fax: 610-323-2845

347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Fax: 610-917-9348