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.

Blog comments


In reply to by Michael ray hopson (not verified)

Hi there,
If you're receiving benefits now, the amount may not change once you start receiving retirement benefits.

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 15:33 Permalink
Barb B (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I just got my notice that my check will be 100.00 less at retirement from Sadi. Can I appeal because I will never be able to work. How successful do you think it will be?

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 23:32 Permalink
Fatima (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

Deanna, my husband is under this same example. Your stating that the benefits will continue regardless of your age. However, you did not mentioned anything about the monthly payment. Will it drop?

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 14:31 Permalink
WENDY (not verified)

In reply to by marilyn (not verified)

I would also call the Social Security office and see if you need any other insurance along with your new Medicare benefits so that you do not get any penalties. For example, some people can be penalized (monthly) if they do not have Part D coverage along with their MedicareA and B. Part D is prescription coverage. Part C is supplemental coverage which sometimes includes part D and is usually a Medicare recipients best bet. Tip: If you call, let them know right off the bat, that you are calling because you are a NEW Medicare A and B recipient and would like to talk to someone about what other coverage you NEED to have. Best of luck. It sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 16:32 Permalink
Kathy Dale (not verified)

In reply to by WENDY (not verified)

I also receive sidi and received my medicare card in 2016. When I went to a seminar on it and did research, I found that it was cheaper to go with a Medicare advantage insurance rather than straight medicare. if you go straight medicare, the supplement programs that are available to you if your under 65 are very outrageous on monthly premiums.

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 15:52 Permalink

In reply to by concerned (not verified)

Hi there,
You may still be eligible for Market Place coverage, however you would also become eligible for Medicare after two years on SSDI benefits.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 09:40 Permalink
Darlene Martin (not verified)

In reply to by WENDY (not verified)

You can also apply for the QMB program if you're lower income and get food stamps , the state will pay for your Medicare & you can also receive Medicaid call family services to see if you are entitled

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 04:12 Permalink
Cynthia (not verified)

In reply to by Darlene Martin (not verified)

Yes, you may be qualified for the "Medicare Savings Plan" -- there are 4 levels. You must call a dept of health services near you to discuss entry to the program (Can get Plan A & Plan B covered / or just one or the other + help with co-pays, deductibles, your 20%/ 80% on out of plan specialists. -- great program! Has really helped me.
You should ask about the Extra Savings Plan for your medications too --- it functions along side your Medicare insurance --- can make a big difference --- none of my RX cost over $9!
I've personally found the Advantage Medicare Plans to be the best. --- If you find yourself on a QMB plan that only covers Plan OR Plan B --- you will receive a monthly bill for the premium *** If this cost is too much --- apply to your states DSHS 'Medicaid' . You may qualify for the state to pay that monthly amount. On the form -- put an X by Healthcare --- that's what you will be applying for. Hoped I explained this so it helps. Lots of people just suffer through because they don't know about these programs. Along with applying for Healthcare -- you might as well apply for Food Assistanc (SNAP) --- (given a debt card to purchase food -- no colored paper anymore) ---- depending on your state -- as an individual-- you may qualify for up to $150 per month. All of this can make your financial life much easier. Shove that pride down and do what's best for you.

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 22:28 Permalink
jan (not verified)

In reply to by marilyn (not verified)

you will need to decide about what you want to do with your medicare as a disabled person you won't qualify for medigap unless you want to pay an outrageous amount of $$$$. I added a medicare advantage plan instead of traditional medicare. I won't qualify for a regular medigap until age 65 if I understand it right

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 14:39 Permalink
Alan (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

You say nothing will change. I am 66 and they are changing me to retirement from sad. Disability is not taxable. Do I have to pay taxes on retirement. I am terminal. Can I choose to stay on sad?

Fri, 12/16/2016 - 18:24 Permalink

In reply to by Alan (not verified)

Hi Alan,
You may not need to pay taxes on those retirement benefits, however as we are not experts on tax code it may be a good idea to contact someone knowledgeable about the laws in your state regarding taxes.

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 13:40 Permalink
Raez (not verified)

In reply to by Alan (not verified)

I have only been on SSDI for about a year, I was told that it was taxable. Which really hurts, I'm setting aside the money to cover it, then when I have to cover Medicare it will get worse. I don't know if my age is a factor because I was 55 when I stated getting SSDI.

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 13:46 Permalink
Deb (not verified)

In reply to by Raez (not verified)

The way I understand it is you may have to pay tax if your am ount is over $10,000 a year or have additional income from employment that exceeds the allowed amount earned in the guidelines. ..which is only a few hundred a month.

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:32 Permalink
Susan Merkler (not verified)

In reply to by Susan Ketterer (not verified)

I've been on social security benifits since I was 43, I turn 66 September 2016, will my benifits increase? Can I collect according to my husbands social security . He is already collecting, he will be 70 in june.

Sun, 05/08/2016 - 17:20 Permalink

In reply to by Susan Merkler (not verified)

Hi Susan,
Your benefits would stay the same when the convert to retirement benefits, but you may be eligible to get benefits on your husband's work record, if you'd get a lesser amount on your own work record

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 11:00 Permalink
Jo (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I am 65 years old and I am currently collecting SSDI and my spouse is 6 months older than I and he is not yet collecting social security. He wants to know if he can continue to work beyond his full retirement age and not yet collect social security while when I reach full retirement age I can collect off of my spouses higher earning record. Half of his estimated FRA social security is higher than what I collect under SSDI.

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 17:11 Permalink

In reply to by Jo (not verified)

Hi Jo,
You may be able to do that, however it may be a good idea to contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for details that would be specific to your case.

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:40 Permalink

In reply to by Julia mcgee (not verified)

Hi Julia,
It would generally stay the same if you did not have any income that would cause the SSA to re-calculate your benefits amount.

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 11:01 Permalink
Etta Reeves (not verified)

In reply to by Susan Ketterer (not verified)

Will my Disability Social Security income check change in $$ amountil once I reach month....if so More or less income...I can't work an extra job...

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 16:55 Permalink
Kat (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

If i understand correctly: 1)SSDI benefits convert to SS retirement at full retirement age.2) There is no decrease in the amount a person receives. 3) A person can work wihout income limits or loss of benefits once SSDI has converted to regular SS retirement.
Is this all correct?
Thank you

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 17:49 Permalink
Karen (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Question! I am getting a mo check for long term disability from my employer and can collect till I'm 65 or 5 yrs. I am 59 now. I've applied for SSD if approved if the SSD amount isn't what I get from LTD the LTD pays the difference between SSD and the LTD amount I get now. So what would happen to my SSD check and the LTD amount once I am 66 and 6 mo at full retirement. A bit confusing. If it's less can I collect on my first husband benefits if it more? Thanks for any help

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 02:28 Permalink

In reply to by Karen (not verified)

Hi Karen,
You may want to consult your long term disability policy regarding the length and terms of your coverage. Regarding your SSDI benefits, those would not change and you may not be eligible for benefits on your first husband's benefits if you are remarried.

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:58 Permalink

In reply to by Angela K Smith (not verified)

Hi Angela,
The conversion from disability benefits generally doesn't require you to do anything ( If the SSA does need anything, they will contact you), and the check will be the same.

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 10:11 Permalink

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