If you are ill and reaching the age of 62, retiring early may be something for you to consider. However, there are very specific guidelines for each, so it is important to know what would suit your scenario best.
Benefits of Early Retirement:
Once you are 62-years-old, you can apply for SS benefits. You will not be eligible to receive your full retirement benefits if you retire before "full retirement age." The "full retirement age" is 65, so if you start drawing Social Security at 62, but you will only receive 80% of the monthly benefit you would be receiving if you had retired at sixty-five.
Benefits of Social Security Disability:
If you are approved to receive Social Security Disability, you will receive 100% of the monthly benefit you would receive by retiring at the age of sixty-five. The rate will stay the same when it switches to Social Security once you reach the full retirement age.
So, if you are approved for disability, you will receive more each month. If you retire early and you are not approved for disability you will only receive 80% of your monthly pension. However, this may be worth considering depending on your health.