I have been told by numerous SSA trained sources, that disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits at full retirement age. And when I ask say, "Non disabled claimants are advised to elect early retirement at age 62, when their higher earning spouse files for early retirement benefits -- thus permanently reducing their retirement benefit".
Isn't disallowing their disabled claimants that same opportunity, demonstrate discrimination against the disabled -- by barring them from early retirement benefits and making them many more years, until full retirement age?
I don't follow your logic. If a person files for their Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, their benefit rate is reduced by 25% to 30% depending on their year of birth. People entitled to Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits are essentially paid the equivalent of their unreduced full retirement age benefit regardless of their age. So, becoming entitled to SSDI benefits is basically like drawing your full Social Security retirement benefit amount early.
A person who is entitled to SSDI could opt to file for and receive their reduced Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 instead of their SSDI, but in most cases that would just give them a lower benefit rate. The only times that it might be advantageous for a person entitled to SSDI benefits to instead opt to receive reduced retirement benefits is:
1) If total family benefits would be higher due to the higher family maximum benefit that is sometimes applicable to retirement benefits vs. disability benefits; or,
2) A person's SSDI benefits are being offset due to the receipt of worker's compensation or public disability benefits and the person's reduced retirement rate would be higher than the amount of their SSDI after offset.