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

Submitted by Shane on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 15:18

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. 

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Blog comments

Rodney J (not verified)

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?

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 01:21 Permalink
Robert Greenwood (not verified)

In reply to by dayle hudson (not verified)

I am also a 'legally blind' SIDI man under " the blindness rules".
The switch to Retirement Benefits is automatic are his Full Retirement Age. This is determined by the year he was born. has a chart with birth years & a FULL Retirement Age Chart, this will tell you if his switch is when between 65 to 67.
If he does work, he can then earn any amount with NO limits after full ret. age.

Sat, 11/12/2016 - 21:20 Permalink
Heidi M. Williams (not verified)

In reply to by dayle hudson (not verified)

When I reach age 66; I will begin to receive retirement benefits; I wanted too know if the amount I will receive from retirement will be added with the ssdi or do the ssdi stop & you only receive retirement benefits???

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 21:21 Permalink
Heide (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Please clarify: I receive $1200 a month now. when I am 65 (my age where SSI changes to regular social security is 67).

When I am 65, I will receive a $350 a month annuity from my old company; that is all. What will be my net take home per month will it be $1550 or will it be $1200 (b/c $850 will come from social security and $350 from the annuity.)

Also, when my SSI converts to regular Social security benefits at age 67 will then I be keeping my $1200 per month AND my $350. The annuity could vary in years from 15 to life (with varying amounts.)

Thank you

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 19:25 Permalink

In reply to by Heide (not verified)

Hi Heide,

SSI will NOT convert to retirement. SSDI will change, but if you begin receiving additional benefits, your SSI payments will likely decrease. The dollar amount you'll lose will not be as high as it would be for many because you're receiving unearned income. If you are receiving SSDI and SSI at the same time, when you receive your retirement benefits you'll likely lose the SSI but keep the SSDI (converted to retirement) and your annuity.

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 15:43 Permalink
Maryann (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I'm confused. When I reach retirement age, my disability converts to retirement, but you're saying it stays the same amount ? I also get a long-term disability payment from my employer will that change ? Thanks so much I was totally unaware of any of this !

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 12:29 Permalink

In reply to by Maryann (not verified)

Hi Maryann,
Generally, your benefits amount would not change, however you may want to contact the company that administers your employer's long term disability policy about this as they'd have specific details about your policy.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 09:38 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Maryann (not verified)

Hi Maryann,
I, too, was on Long Term Disability through my company, who I'd actually physically worked for 12 years prior to being forced to stop working due to unbearable chronic pain. The company also kept me on ALL of my insurance plans that I'd been on prior to going on LTD (medical, dental, vision, life). However, I was made to apply for Soc Sec Disability and was eventually approved. So, I remained on BOTH for the next 9 years. My LTD payment was "adjusted" (went way down) according to what SSD was then paying me. When I turned full retirement age, ALL of my Long Term Disability Benefits ENDED, including the paycheck and all of the insurance plans. The "party" was OVER, so to speak! NO MORE LTD whatsoever once I turned 66. All of that information should have been in your Policy Book from your company in the fine print! At the same time, I was changed from SSD to regular Social Security (Retirement) and the amount of my SS check did NOT change.

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 07:56 Permalink
Kat (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

My ex and I both disabled. He passed. At time, prior 36 mo to his ssdi he made more than me. I asked if I could receive difference, ss office said no.

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 17:44 Permalink

In reply to by Kat (not verified)

Hi Kat,
I'm sorry but that is indeed correct! You can receive benefits under his account if you're age 50+ or if you have a child under age 16, but you cannot receive additional benefits on top of your own.

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 16:43 Permalink

In reply to by Annie S. (not verified)

Hi Annie,
If you are still eligible for SSI benefits, then it may change depending on what you would receive for SSA retirement benefits.

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:14 Permalink

In reply to by George Lessa (not verified)

Hi George,
I really could not say as I do not have specific information about your case, however you would have a reduced benefit as you would be retiring early.

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 09:31 Permalink
Shar Marti (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Bryan if U get $800 a month now on SSD and reach my full retirement age I understand I lose SSD and collect SS retire ment BUT can my check decrease in the amount I will receive?? God I hope not! Can't make it now!

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 16:09 Permalink

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