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

Debbie (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

I have been getting SSDI payments since I was 53. I am currently 62. I earn $1299. per month. How much can I earn in addition to SSDI without losing my benefits?

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 23:50 Permalink

In reply to by Debbie (not verified)

Hi Debbie,
The maximum you could earn while on SSDI and still be considered eligible for benefits is $1,130 a month, though the SSA does have programs for those transitioning from disability to full-time work where you could earn more than that figure and still be eligible for short periods of time.

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 10:13 Permalink
Tammy (not verified)

If someone currently receives Disability since 1982, and they are to begin SSI in November 2016, will they stop receiving Disability or will they receive Disability and SSI? Thanks

Sat, 12/19/2015 - 23:55 Permalink

In reply to by Tammy (not verified)

Hi Tammy,
What is probably happening is this person's SSDI benefit is less than $733, the SSI maximum payment. So he or she can receive an SSI payment in addition to the SSDI payment, but the combined total of both payments cannot exceed $733. I hope that helps.

Mon, 12/21/2015 - 13:56 Permalink
Pam (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

You are mosrly correct Im on both be ause my ssdi was less than the amount ssi but its bot combined total like you said unless I misunderstood, my ssdi is 733 and my ssi is 19 so my toal is $753 a month, my ssi is $19 because I worked and made $714 a month give or take a few $'s.

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 04:56 Permalink
theresa conner (not verified)

i turned 65 this past august and i am receiving disability payments.should i which to retirement benefits.i need to know this information as soon as possible.

Mon, 12/21/2015 - 20:18 Permalink

In reply to by Debi (not verified)

Hi Debi,
If you're getting SSI benefits as well, then you may not lose those benefits if you're otherwise eligible for SSI.

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 13:12 Permalink
Sandra (not verified)

I'm currently receiving ssdi. I will hit retirement in March of 2016 when I turn 66. Will the date I receive my retirement check be the same as the ssdi check date? All of my bills are centered around the date I currently receive the ssdi check.

Tue, 12/22/2015 - 15:02 Permalink
Dennis (not verified)

I currently receive SSDI but it will end at end of 2017. I do not qualify for full retirement until 66 early 2019. Will my earnings statement still be frozen so my SS will be same amount as SSDI now if I retire at 65? I know I can only collect 93 percent but would it be off the SSDI monthly amount frozen?

Tue, 12/29/2015 - 02:55 Permalink

In reply to by Dennis (not verified)

Hi Dennis,
That is an excellent question! I do not know the answer. Your best guess would be to call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to find out whether or not you can take retirement.

Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:23 Permalink
Mike (not verified)

I retired in Jan 2014 at age 62. I receive SSI, In Feb of 2015 I was determined 97% disabled. I started to receive SSDI. If I can find a past time clerical job, how much can I earn and how will it effect my SSi and SSDI?
Thank you

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:46 Permalink

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Hi Mike,
So if you earn more than $733 per month, you will not qualify for SSI benefits anymore. If you earn more than $1,130 in 2016, you will not qualify for SSDI. So anything below $733 will affect your benefits, but you will not lose them.

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 16:40 Permalink
Roberta (not verified)

I received a paper from Social Security today that is confusing. I have been on total and permanent disability but will be 66 in January on the 26th of the month. I understand changing from SSDI to regular retirement but I do not understand what this letter is saying about the date of payments; as I read this I will not receive anything for 2 months since I will be 66 in January but the birthdate is January 26th. I have received my disability the fourth Wednesday in December which was December 23 2015. This letter is stating that since it is being switched to regular retirement I will received $1167 for January 2016 around February 24 2016 which in my estimation that is almost two months from December 23,2015 when I have received my last disability check. It states after that payment I will receive $1167. on or about the fourth Wednesday of each month..... That is what I receive now so there is no extra money or anything but since I do not turn 66 until January 26, 2015 which is about the date I would receive my tota and permanent disability payment. If they are not going to give me a first check until Frebruary 24, 2016 then that is two months from the last check received in December. This leaves me with no income for approximately two months and does not make sense. Everything is still about the same as far as the money goes; the date of payment on the fourth Wednesday, etc but why wait until February 24th to pay January payment? If you do that I will not receive any for January and then not until the end of February so it seems that is two months. I do not see why this has to happen since nothing changes. I do not receive any extra money or anything. I really need help with this because I will not be able to pay rent or pay for food or anything else. Can someone help me with this?
Thank You
help me figure this out
I do disagree with this decision.

Thu, 12/31/2015 - 17:48 Permalink

In reply to by Roberta (not verified)

Hi Roberta,
Very sorry to hear that! I would think that your January payment will still come, but the SSA just did not mention it in their letter to you. Consider calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to discuss what happened to that payment.

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 16:06 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Roberta (not verified)

i do think you will receive your january 2016 payment because december payed for november soc sec pays for the month before that letter i believe meant february will be your actual full retirement payment but you will receive a january payment which actually will pay for december i am also on ssdi and will be 66 years old in march and waiting for my letter

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 21:56 Permalink
Janedoes (not verified)

In reply to by Roberta (not verified)

You will rec regular payment on same day each month. No months will be skipped. I got one of those letters too and that is all that happens. Also everyone let me warn you when you convert from Sadi to full retirement the base amount of income used to calculate eligibility for supplemental medical insurance for low income people will change to a lower rate possibly causing you to have an additional “cost of share” which will throw you out of your Medicare medical advantage plans...If you have a cost of share some plans will kick you out and know because I got such a letter from Kaiser which was actually an error in coding at the medical office-

Sun, 12/17/2017 - 12:01 Permalink
Sandra Ellison (not verified)

My husband received ssi and has Medicaid for 4 years , he will turn 62 in April and is planning on drawing social security. My question is will he lose his Medicaid when he start drawing his social security or can he get Medicare at 62.

Fri, 01/01/2016 - 07:25 Permalink

In reply to by Sandra Ellison (not verified)

Hi Sandra,
I do not believe that he will be eligible for Medicare until he is 66, but if his income is still low enough, he could remain eligible for SSI and continue to keep his Medicaid enrollment.

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 16:08 Permalink
Mark (not verified)

I am currently receiving SSDI benefits. The amount is reduced/offset due to my disability retirement from a non-contributing public employer. My question is, at retirement age, does my reduced SSDI amount stay the same or is the offset removed once it changes from SSDI to normal retirement?

Sat, 01/02/2016 - 13:21 Permalink

In reply to by Mark (not verified)

Hi Mark,
No, since your place of employment did not remove Social Security taxes from your paycheck, your payment will not likely raise once you convert to retirement.

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 16:09 Permalink
Sharon (not verified)

I did an early retirement at age 62 because of health issues, but didn't apply for SSDI until Oct.2015. I've been accepted for SSDI for the medical portion with me being considered disabled 8/1/2014. and want to know if my retirement amount is going to decrease with SSDI. I currently get $1581 a month for retirement. I will turn 65 in May and will start my medicare benefit. Is it beneficial for me to just stay with my regular retirement or switch over to SSDI?

Sat, 01/02/2016 - 21:31 Permalink
Donna (not verified)

Hi, my husband got hurt in a work related accident june of 2014 hes on workmans comp. He filed for ss disability benifits however this whole situation has been nothing but guessing game with offsets and everything our newest problem is he will be 62 in july but he filed for ss disability and has been turned down once but we plan to persue it every step of the way .now can u tell me what happens at 62 as far as retirement goes because disability pays out higher amount and technically he would have worked till he was 67 or better in his field industrial electritian if not for the shoulder injury and 2 surgeries later. Got any ideas where we stand .? Thx a million

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 14:20 Permalink

In reply to by Donna (not verified)

Hi Donna,
I would continue with your disability application unless he is denied after the ALJ hearing. At that point, I would take his retirement benefits, unless his disability worsens and you think restarting the claim would be beneficial.

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 17:04 Permalink
jake cumberland (not verified)

My wife has been collecting disability for approx 20 years and turned 60 in 2015.
I was told by a financial adviser that I, at age 68, could file for social security, suspend payment, and we then could receive monthly, 50% of 105% of my wife's monthly payment. This is in addition to her normal monthly check.
Any info on this subject would be appreciated or direct me to someplace where I can find an answer.

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 12:30 Permalink

In reply to by jake cumberland (not verified)

Hi Jake,
You would qualify for spouse's benefits, however I would contact the Social Security Administration for more information on how your retirement benefits would work. Their number is 1-800-772-1213.

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 09:20 Permalink
Eddie (not verified)

My wife qualified for SSI several years ago before SS retirement age. Her benefits were calculated considering only her earnings. When she reaches retirement age and her benefits convert, will she then be able to consider my earnings together with hers for higher benefits?

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 15:06 Permalink
Lourdes (not verified)

Hi there! I'm 69 years old and has been receiving ssdi benefits for the last 6 years. I did not have enough credits then but now have 40 credits as of Jan 2016 because I did babysitting and earned some credits. According to benefits estimated for retirement, i will be receiving 273/month, but I am receiving $733/month from ssdi right now. My question is that, will I get 273/month now that I have reached enough credits for retirement, or will I get the higher amount 733/month from which I was receiving from ssdi? Just want to know which of those two will i get as my benefits gets converted. Please let me know as I have been wondering that the lower amount is not enough to get me through the month.

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 13:01 Permalink

In reply to by Lourdes (not verified)

Hi Lourdes,
I am not sure you earned those credits. Did you pay taxes for the income you earned babysitting? If you are receiving $733 per month from SSDI, you will not be eligible for SSI, as you're already at the maximum SSI payment.

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 14:58 Permalink
Marsha (not verified)

I've been on SSD since 2006 and so is my ex-husband. I'm turning 62 this April am I entitled to his SSD check.

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 17:10 Permalink

In reply to by Marsha (not verified)

Hi Marsha,
You could receive up to 50% of his disability check, assuming it is higher than your own. You cannot receive both your own SSDI payments and his SSDI payments at the same time.

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 14:34 Permalink
Dan (not verified)

My brother is currently on ssi benefits for mental health reasons. He turns 65 in March and was informed by ssn he doesn't have enough quarters to be eligible for SSN Part A. He has received confusing letters about Part B and part D coverage and the cost. If he is on SSI for no cost does he stay on ssi. He was on the phone for 3 hrs calling numbers on the letters he received and wasn't able to get an answer.

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 19:46 Permalink
mel greene (not verified)

I am receiving SS Disability. Once I reach retirement age, (in my case 66 )will it decrease to what I'd normally receive if I retired, or remain the same I am getting now, which is a bit more?

Thu, 02/11/2016 - 16:28 Permalink

In reply to by mel greene (not verified)

Hi Mel,
You will continue to receive what you're getting now. The benefits will convert to retirement benefits, and the only difference will be that you can now work as much as you wish.

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 14:59 Permalink
Jamedoes (not verified)

In reply to by mel greene (not verified)

When you are approved for SSDI your full retirement age benefit is what you will receive as your disability payment. This amount will never change unless you are given the tiny increase in inflation raise every year going forward. When you are converted to full retirement age (which is dependent on your birthdate for calculation) nothing will change in your actual will continue in the samee format and date BUT...the hidden additional cost of other welfare type programs that gave you a hidden discount due to the “disability” label will be lost. I only found this out when the welfare office made an error in coding which an advocate discovered and assisted me with. I got a letter from Kaiser saying you cannot be in their Medicare advantage program if you have a cost of Sherry with the welfare portion of the medical payment system you are involved with. The cost of share was a whopping $370.00 and they discovered the code error. This will cause your income to drop significantly when you have to pay more somewhere else! So the only difference was a code that said I was or was not disabled. That means at full retirement age I will get kicked out of kaiser and have to figure out what to do from there...I am far from that date ...and I do love kaiser...but I am shopping now for a replacement while my brain is still fully operational! There are many advocate programs out there that can walk you through problems with social security, medical, just call 211 or the other three letter help line associated with your state.

Sun, 12/17/2017 - 12:13 Permalink

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