This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


John got word today that he has been approved for disability retirement from his job. That gets him a higher benefit than regular retirement would have, though with only 18 years in the job it isn't great. Now that is approved we started the process of applying for Social Security disability. We went down to the Social Security office, and amazingly didn't have to wait at all to do the preliminary steps. We have an appointment Monday to do the final application. And while disability usually takes a long time, since John is 62 he will apply both for regular retirement and for disability. He will get the regular retirement right away and then a lump sum for the difference if/when the disability comes through.

We knew our daughter would get benefits until she is 18 if John got disability, but we got further good news on that. We should get those promptly because Social Security benefits for a dependent child come with regular retirement as well as with disability. I had no idea that children could get benefits when a parent retires; I guess not very many people retire with children under the age of 18. In addition, even though our son just turned 18 he will get a year of benefits because he has one more year of high school.

We also met today with the financial planner we have been working with, and he had found John an annuity based on his diagnosis (called an impaired risk annuity) that pays 10% guaranteed for however long he lives. We will consolidate his tax deferred retirement savings and various small IRA accounts he has accumulated into that annuity.

I was worried about our financial situation this year because I thought things would take longer to kick in. We actually are in surprising good shape for the next three years, as our daughter will get Social Security benefits for three years and John has a private disability insurance policy that will pay until he turns 65. When his expenses go up after that we will be in a more difficult position as he does not have long-term care insurance.

1 comment:

Joann said...

I'm a fan of Mary Russel Doria's books, and just read her "Thread of Grace."

She repeats a Jewish proverb that I haven't found anywhere else on the web, but it goes something like: "Though the tapestry may be dark, the fabric often has a thread of grace."

It sounds like you have found some threads of grace that you needed for your peace of mind.