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 Carol (not verified)

Hi Carol,
Yes, you can apply for benefits at 61 and 9 months, so if you're older than that, you are eligible to file. This would also not affect your husband's Medicare coverage.

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:24 Permalink
Vicki harrison (not verified)

When you have been on SSD and the ow going to turn 62 in a much of your SSD Do you lose,because you have to which over to Retirement benfits for 3 you know

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 15:00 Permalink

In reply to by Vicki harrison (not verified)

Hi Vicki,
You will not lose any of your benefits, your benefit amount would stay the same when your benefits convert to retirement.

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 15:14 Permalink
Jeanne (not verified)

I have been receiving permanent ssdi since 1994 and will be turning 66 this year. I have been working the last 10 year pt and paid in to ss and medicare, will my ck go up because of this.

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 15:48 Permalink

In reply to by Jeanne (not verified)

Hi Jeanne,
No, it will not. If you were making enough to increase your retirement payments, you will have become disqualified from SSDI benefits.

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 13:21 Permalink
Debra (not verified)

Hi my ex husband passed away a few years ago he never remarried we have a daughter that is 36 now so no one has thrown his Social Security at all does either one of us need to file for it

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 19:20 Permalink

In reply to by Debra (not verified)

Hi Debra,
I am sorry to hear that. Your daughter is not entitled to any benefits, but you could be if you are over the age of 62 and never remarried. You also must have been married to him for at least 10 years.

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 13:20 Permalink
Robert (not verified)

Hello & and thanks for helping with all these questions! I think I have been very lucky compared to some blogs I have read! Anyway, I was wondering if it is still necessary to initiate the "Disability Freeze"? I just noticed the last 3 years have been zeros as income? I was SSDI in 2012 I think, NASA did all the paperwork. But I also read in an earlier article on here that the freeze is automatic? Thanks for any advice. Have a great day!!!

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 21:33 Permalink

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,
If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age would be
66, and it would not affect your eligibility for SSDI if you were otherwise eligible.

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 14:13 Permalink
Leo (not verified)

If you are receiving SS disability [due to cancer], can it be changed to SS early retirement at age 59 1/2?

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 18:43 Permalink
toni beckwith (not verified)

If my husband is receiving ssdi and it converts to his regular retirement at the usual age, do I receive his social security upon his death.

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 04:04 Permalink

In reply to by toni beckwith (not verified)

Hi Toni,
You may be eligible for survivor's benefits upon his death regardless of if his benefit is SSDI or retirement benefits.

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 12:25 Permalink
Kevin Rocker (not verified)

Will my benefit amount reduce once I reach retirement age. I was born in 1961. Benefit amount of ssdi is around $1800 month.

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 15:32 Permalink
Alexander (not verified)

Is it of benefit to suspend SS benefits once SSDI end at full retirement age, and start regular benefits at age 70?

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 18:49 Permalink

In reply to by Alexander (not verified)

Hi Alexander,
There would be no change in your benefit amount when your SSDI converts to retirement benefits, so it may not be useful to file and suspend.

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 11:53 Permalink
Martha (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I am applying for SSDI with an advocate group . I have worked for 40 years and am 58 . How will my SSDI benefit be calculated since I have not worked since my surgery last year ? The income for 2015 was very low since i worked only briefly before my surgery .

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 00:50 Permalink

In reply to by Martha (not verified)

Hi Martha,
SSDI is calculated based off of your entire work record, so when you started working from now. The SSA may determine the date you had stopped working as the date your work record had stopped for the purposes of calculating your benefits.

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 09:46 Permalink
Martha (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Thankyou, My old job is offering me to be able to access my pension benefits now at 58 1/2 and since i have no income this is badly needed. My husbands low income does not cover the bills. But I am worried since I am still in the process for my SSDI .Will this affect my outcome or the amount they are calculating? I turn 59 1/2 next year in June. Please any advice would be appreciated.

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 17:45 Permalink

In reply to by Paul (not verified)

Hi Paul,
Your retirement amount is based on your payroll taxes, and as such it can vary by how much a person makes and how much they had paid into Social Security.

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 16:54 Permalink
Christine (not verified)

In reply to by Deanna

i receive my deceased husbands pension, he worked for the state, and I am on SSD. I am 62 now, what happens when I reach retirement age.
Thank You

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 13:00 Permalink

In reply to by Christine (not verified)

Hi Christine,
Your Disability benefits would convert to retirement benefits. As for your husband's pension, I could not as that would be something to ask the administrators of the pension.

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 12:54 Permalink
Mary (not verified)

I am receiving SS Disability. When these payments convert to social security at my full retirement age,66, can I suspend these payments and then receive the increased payments at age 70? I know I cannot file on my husbands account during that time, but I don't know if I would be eligible to stop the payments and received the increased amount.

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 13:05 Permalink

In reply to by Mary (not verified)

Hi Mary,
If you are receiving SSDI, you may be receiving the maximum benefit amount that you would be able to get, even before your benefits convert to retirement. Additionally, file and suspend rules have changed and it may not be to your advantage to file and suspend at full retirement age.

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 13:40 Permalink
Pete Deltoro (not verified)

Excellent ideas - I learned a lot from the insight , Does anyone know where my business can obtain a sample SSA-827 copy to work with ?

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 10:18 Permalink
Penelope (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I am on ssdi. I am almost 62.
You said we could work some.
I thought we weren't allowed.
You said we could work all we want once retirement kicks in.
Wouldn't we get in trouble since we were on disability?

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 14:22 Permalink

In reply to by Penelope (not verified)

Hi Penelope,
Depending on your disability determination, you may be able to work. I would contact the SSA to find out if you have the option to work based on their determination. Additionally, since retirement benefits have no restrictions relating to substantial gainful activity, once they are converted to retirement benefits, you would be able to work as much as you'd want.

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:06 Permalink
Linda (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

You can earn money all the money you want at FULL RETIREMENT AGE.. And FULL RETIREMENT AGE will depend on what yr you were born.. Prior to FULL RETIREMENT if you are receiving SSDI "income" limits apply..always remember ..they reference retirement as early as 62 yrs BUT FULL RETIREMENT COULD BE A DIFFERENT AGE DEPENDING ON WHAT YR YOU WERE BORN..

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 12:51 Permalink

In reply to by Linda (not verified)

HI Linda,
Thanks for sharing! It's true, once you start receiving retirement benefits, you would not be beholden to earnings limits.

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 12:27 Permalink
Michele (not verified)

My husband gets social security retirement but still works and will be having a lung transplant soon can he get disability too

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 15:15 Permalink
Cheryl (not verified)

I have not worked for the last 8 years, mostly due to physical problems with my back. My husband has a good job, and while it's been tight financially we've been able to meet our obligations. In 2015 I had 3 surgeries on my spine and was hoping to return back to work if all went successfully but sadly it didn't turn out to be the case. With all the medical bills things have become more difficult for us and while I've never wanted to take Social Security assistance I'm thinking I may have to. My question is, if I do start taking disability benefits now at 57, how will that affect my retirement Social Security amount. I know when I've received SS documents it lists what amount you'll get at age 62, 65, 68, etc, and taking it before the "actual" retirement age Social Security has at 68 they reduce the amount, but What I don't know is if I get disability will that then reduce my full retirement benefit amount?

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 17:42 Permalink

In reply to by Cheryl (not verified)

Hi Cheryl,
If you get SSDI benefits, your benefits amount may not change when they convert to retirement benefits. SSDI benefits are generally the maximum amount you would be able to receive based on your work record.

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 09:58 Permalink
David (not verified)

I am receiving ssdi. According to your age chart, I will eligible to receive regular ss benefits at 66. (I was born in1953)
Does this mean I will get ssdi and ss benefits combined?

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 01:52 Permalink

In reply to by David (not verified)

Hi David,
You would not, you can only get SSDI or retirement benefits, but the amount you are getting now would not change.

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 09:59 Permalink
Larry F. (not verified)

I'm divorced and want to know if a divorced person is eligible to an ex's benefits if that person pass'es away ?

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 15:58 Permalink
Megan (not verified)

My father has been on SSDI since the early 90's after a horrible coal mining accident. He will turn 66 on June 4th which means his benefits will switch over this month. We received a letter in the mail today which states all of the above, expect under a section that says "What does it pay and when: " it says "You will receive June 2016's payment on or around July 1st 2016" What does this mean? When it switches over do you lose a full month of income? He is frantic. Can anyone help me figure this out?

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 17:58 Permalink

In reply to by Megan (not verified)

Hi Megan,
Your father may not lose a month of income as SSDI benefits are paid out a month behind, so that June 2016 payment is supposed to come on July 1, just like his May 2016 payment would come in on June 1st, ect.

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 10:38 Permalink
DEBBIE BIENEMANN (not verified)


Mon, 06/06/2016 - 18:17 Permalink

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