You are here

Do Social Security Disability Benefits Switch to Retirement Benefits When You Turn 65?

Many people wonder what happens to their Social Security Disability benefits when they reach retirement age. Do they stop receiving disability benefits? Do disability benefits continue? Are they converted to Social Security Retirement benefits? It can be confusing to understand how the process works and individuals who receive SSDI benefits want to ensure that they are not left without an income once they reach retirement age. If you are wondering what happens to your SSDI benefits once you reach age 65, the following information will help.

The Benefits Do Convert

The first thing you need to understand when receiving SSDI benefits is that the benefits do convert from Social Security Disability benefits to Social Security Retirement benefits once you reach retirement age. Nothing will change. You will continue to receive a monthly check and you do not need to do anything in order to receive your benefits. The SSA will simply change your disability benefit to a retirement benefit once you have reached full retirement age. When you reach that age, however, can vary depending on which year you were born in.

It’s Not Automatically 65

Many people think that their SSDI benefits will automatically change to retirement benefits when they reach age 65. Some of these people are correct, but only those who were born before 1937. Anyone born after 1937 does not reach full retirement age at exactly 65 years of age so their SSDI benefits will not change to retirement benefits as soon as they turn 65 years old. When will these benefits convert? It depends on the year you were born. The following outline will help you understand at what age your SSDI benefits will convert to retirement benefits:

  • 1938 – 65 years and 2 months
  • 1939 – 65 years and 4 months
  • 1940 – 65 years and 6 months
  • 1941 – 65 years and 8 months
  • 1942 – 65 years and 10 months
  • 1943 through 1954 – 66 years
  • 1955 – 66 years and 2 months
  • 1956 – 66 years and 4 months
  • 1957 – 66 years and 6 months
  • 1958 – 66 years and 8 months
  • 1959 – 66 years and 10 months
  • 1960 and later – 67 years

By reviewing the age breakdown above, you can see at what age your Social Security Disability benefits will convert to Social Security Retirement benefits. Once you begin receiving Social Security Retirement benefits, you will receive your benefits without any limit on your earnings. This means that you will begin receiving your monthly benefits regardless of your income, unlike when these benefits were simply SSDI benefits. When your SSDI benefits convert to retirement benefits, the SSDI rules no longer apply to the benefits as the benefits now fall under the retirement guidelines.


If my ex is receiving some of my Retirement from my will she receive any more when my Social Security convert to Social Security Retirement?

Hi Rodney,
I do not believe so. She would be able to earn more from working in addition to receiving retirement benefits, but that is all.

how much can i expect to receive at retirement age 67 in 2034 with current ssdi gross16546.80 ?
what is the formula for that ? thank you

Hi Max,
We actually cannot calculate that. The SSA changes its formula slightly every year, so you won't know until your year of retirement.

I have an opportunity to accept gainful employment and am currently receiving SSDI. I will be 65 in December and want to drop SSDI and begin receiving Social Security which will allow me to earn more than I legally can under SSDI. I know I will lose $1 for every $2 I earn over $15,700. My question is, can I do this and will I receive the same amount of Social Security I would have normally received if I had become age 66--less the penalty which I figure would be 7.3%?

Hi Billy,
I believe your retirement percentage would be significantly lower if you have been receiving SSDI for a number of years. Wouldn't the SSA take your unearned income years as 0s towards your work history if you work enough to become disqualified from SSDI benefits and then just take full retirement benefits? Hopefully someone else knows a lot more about this than I do! I would personally advise waiting until you hit full retirement age and have your full SSDI benefits, plus the opportunity to work as much as you please.

I was determined disabled in, I believe, 1995. I am told however that I'm receiving SSI even though I was born in 1950. This is confusing to me. Can someone explain to me why?

Hi Sharon,
SSI is available for people of all ages. I do not believe your SSI benefits would convert if you hit full retirement age.

If someone has been receiving social security benefits for 10 years and therefore only has 25 years of earnings at age 65, will the amount of retirement benefits he receives be lower than the amount of disability benefits he had been receiving?

Hi Lindsey,
They actually won't. When an applicant is approved for SSDI, his/her earnings statement goes through what's called a "disability freeze." This means that the amount of SSDI benefits earned monthly will remain the same, even throughout retirement after the recipient has not been working.