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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.


I am 62 years old and currently recieving 960 dollars per month. My full retirement age is 66. How much will I recieve when I reach that age?

Hi there,
Your benefits will remain the same once you hit full retirement age.

I have been on disability since 2000 if ssdi decides to discontinue me will I go to regular ssi I was born in 1956

Hi Randy,
If the condition that caused you to get disability benefits does not improve and you do not return to work or earn more than the $1,130 substantial gainful activity limit, you are not likely to have your benefits discontinued. This would be the case until your benefits convert when you reach retirement age. ( The amount you get would stay the same).

I am a single mom receiving ssdi. I do not receive enough benefits that I need to file income taxes. How do I show that I am covered by medicare. Do I need to fill out a form and send it somewhere?

Hi Barb,
I would ask a tax preparer about this, more than likely they will ask you for that information and any documentation needed for that.

I get a confirmation letter each year that shows i am covered. It's sent to me the start of each year. You are asked to keep the letter as proof of coverage . Hope this helps

My ex husband covers my 2 children's health care coverage. I do not file income taxes because i do not receive enough ssdi benefits that requires me to. The ex lists the children as dependents on his income taxes. Is there documentation needed to show that the kids have health care coverage?

Hi Barb,
I would ask a tax expert about this, they would know more about what you'd need to do about taxes and health insurance.

I am 65 and will turn 66 in october. I became disabled in 2009 due to mental issues. I would like to return to work. Can I lose my ssdi by trying to work for 8 months before retirement age?

Hi Danny,
The SSA allows people to attempt to go back to work while receiving disability benefits. You may be able earn beyond the current income limit of 1,130 for nine months while on disability, this is a "trial work period". It is possible that you can return to work and still get SSDI for those eight months.

I am 65 and will be 66 in may. I was placed on permenant total disability by my physician. do I need to apply for disability or for social security retirement

If two people are married and both collect SSDI benifits, what happens when their income turns into SSI benifits? Can they still be married and both collect SSI benifits?

Hi Cheryl,
If that couple are both getting SSDI benefits, their income will not turn into SSI benefits. When either of them reaches full retirement age, their benefits will convert to retirement benefits, with no change in amount.

What if I am receiving SSDI Benefits, but I am only 56 but eligable to retire from my company right now. Will I still receive SSDI Benefits?

Hi Treva,
If you retire early, you would still be eligible for SSDI benefits.

I started receiving ssd in June 2015. If understand if I can find a job that doesn't trigger my medical condition more. How much can I make a month to not hurt my current benefits?

You can earn up to $1,130 dollars a month while on SSDI benefits.

I retired from the company I worked for after 30 years on a early reduced medical defined pension. At age 65 the medical portion of my pension was discontinued. I'am now 66, can I apply for SSDI to make up for the loss of income? What are my options if any?
Thank you.

Hi Jeff,
As you are 66, you may be eligible for SSA retirement benefits.

I have been on SSD for the past 8 months. I recently turned 62. I have a 401K from my years of employment. Am I able to process monthly withdrawals to supplement my this monthly income?

Hi Joe,
If you a getting SSDI benefits, then yes, you can supplement your benefits with withdrawals from your 401k.

I have been receiving 1081.00 per month SSDI since it was determined I was disabled. I am 57 and received notice that in April that his SS benefits of 960.00 will begin minus 121.80 for Medicare. Am I losing my disability? This will not be enough to pay my rent or bills.

Hi Michael,
I'm sorry to hear about that! However, it does not seem that you are losing your disability benefits, but the SSA is deducting your Medicare premium. I would contact the SSA for more information about Medicare, their number is 1-800-772-1213.

I have been on disability since 1997. I am now 62. Do I need to sign up for retirement? Am I able to work a part time job? Will I lose my disability if I work part time?
Thank you in advance for your time.

Hi Carol Jean,
You can work part time without losing your benefits, so long as you stay under the substantial gainful activity limit of $1,130 a month. Also, your benefits automatically convert when you reach full retirement age, you do not need to apply again for them.

I am currently receiving SSDI and am 63 and permanently disabled. My ex-husband is 65 and retired and collecting his social security. Am I entitled to collect 50% of his social security?
Thanks for your response.

Hi Cindy,
If the auxiliary benefits you would get from your ex spouse's record are more than what you would get on your own record,you were married for more than 10 years, and you have not remarried, you may be able to get auxiliary benefits based off your ex-spouses' work record.

I have been collecting Social Security Disability since 2012. This year I will be turning 62. Will my monthly check change, or it will stay the same until I turn 66? I was born in 1954.

Hi Steven,
The only change in your check would be when you reach full retirement age, at the point it will become retirement benefits at the same amount you received for disability benefits.

I just turned 64 and have been on ssdi since 2011, when I turn 66 and this changes to my retirement if I pass away after that will my wife be able to receive any of that to support her self?

I am presently on SSDI will be turning 66 in August of this year. My question is I have a son under 18 and he also receives benefits as a result of my disability. When my SSDI turns to reg. social security does my son continue to receive benefits until he is 18.

Hi Tom,
If your son is under 16 and not disabled when your benefits switch over, he may be able to get benefits. If he is over 16 and not disabled, he would not be eligible for benefits.

Why if I am born in nov 1955 have to wait a whole year and two months for this conversion 14 months later! God knows we deserve to begin official retirement sooner than that!

My mother is permanently disabled and has been receiving both SSDI and SSI for many years. Today she received a letter that she will be full retirement age soon and will automatically be switched to social security. However, the amount calculated on this letter is much much lower than the amount she currently receives from SSI and SSDI. Almost 50% less. Why would there be such a drastic reduction? Is there any way she can contest it?

Hi Betty,
I think the reason for the letter's low benefit amount is that only SSDI converts to retirement benefits, and if half of your mother's benefits are SSDI, that would explain why. SSI benefits do not convert, but if she is still otherwise eligible for them, she would still keep getting her SSI and retirement benefits.

Yes, I see. She seems to think that this letter also means she is no longer considered disabled. But am I correct in assuming that when SSDI benefits convert at FRA it does not change her status as permanently disabled and therefore change her SSI eligibility?

It would not change her SSI status if she would still be otherwise eligible to get SSI, regardless of age.

hi, my ssi $693.00 and my ssdi $693.00 start on April 1,2016. will both amount be the same each monthly without change?

Hi Randy,
You might see a reduction in your SSI check, as that is based on income and your SSDI check is counted as income.

Hello. I've read all of the comments and only 3 were similar to my situation. Please confirm: I have been on SSD since 2005. Based on my age my SS retirement will be age 66 (and I understand at that time my SSD will convert to SS retirement at the same monthly amount). I have a small retirement payment ($400 net) that will start next year when I turn 65. Do I understand correctly that I can receive this monthly payment and still keep my SSD until age 66 (when it converts over to SS retirement)?

Hi Deborah,
Yes, you would be able to receive SSDI benefits and your retirement payment before your SSDI converts to retirement benefits.

When getting SSDI
Will the amount I get on SSDI
change when I go on Social Security.

Hi Ted,
The benefit amount will not change when your SSDI converts to retirement benefits.

My husband is 62 and receives SSDI. His monthly benefit would be higher if I file for retirement benefits and he applies for spousal retirement benefits. I would apply for retirement benefits before April 30 (though I won't be 62 until the end of May), which is the date when this benefit option will cease to be available. My questions: 1) Must I be at least age 62 by April 30 to take advantage of this soon-to-disappear benefit strategy? (I plan to suspend my retirement benefits soon after they begin.) 2) Will this strategy affect my husband's Medicare coverage (his Form SSA-1099 states Medicare, not Medicaid, so I assume he is not getting Medicaid benefits)? Thanks for your help!