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 DEBBIE BIENEMANN (not verified)

Hi Debbie,
Your amount may not have changed, you may have been enrolled in Medicare, as the premium for Medicare is $122 dollars a month. I would call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to confirm, however.

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 10:15 Permalink
Karen (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Hi . If your monthly income is low( there are income guideline for yourself and or spouse). You may be able to ask the state to pic up that $122 for Medicare part b. You can call SSA ofc they can give you that answers. I would also Medicaid if you qualify for QMB which would pic up that 20% Medicare leaves you. And with Medicaid that may help with prescriptions.

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 03:23 Permalink

In reply to by Karen (not verified)

Hi Karen,
Thanks for adding that! It seems like a great tip for people who are Medicare eligible but may have trouble with the premium.

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 15:17 Permalink
Bruce paulhamus (not verified)

Can I switch from SSDI to SS retirement at age 62 . I was born in 1954. If I can will I lose Medicare Insurance

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 17:29 Permalink
Barbara (not verified)

I received SSI for a few months before SSDI went into effect so my SSDI was paid on the 3rd of each month. I no longer get SSI but SSDI stayed with the payment date of the 3rd. When I turn 66 and convert to SS retirement, will that change my payment date to the third Wednesday? If so, can I expect any advance notice telling me which month the new payment date will go into effect?

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 20:26 Permalink
Vickie Thomas (not verified)

My husband was receiving SSID. Now, he 66 and SSID converted to Retirement SS. Will I be able to apply for spouse dependent pay since I am retiring? I am 62.

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 23:01 Permalink

In reply to by Vickie Thomas (not verified)

Hi Vickie,
You may be eligible for benefits based on your spouse's record if you are not entitled to a larger benefits payment on your own record.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:35 Permalink
Cecelia martin (not verified)

My husbands SSI disability will change this next month July 2016 when he converts to regular SSI now may I now apply for SSI disability was denied due to the fact that he made too much money on SSI disability so now can I apply for SSI disability Social Security disabled

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:12 Permalink
Nico (not verified)

If I am recieving $1500 per month in SSDI now and retire, will I still receive 1500 dollars or the 733 that keeps coming up in these conversations?

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 17:23 Permalink

In reply to by Nico (not verified)

Hi Nico,
You would still receive the 1500 dollars a month at full retirement age if you are getting SSDI benefit as those are based off of your work record.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:38 Permalink
Teresa Rushing (not verified)

I am drawing SSDI i didnt know I was suppose to take Medicare part B when i was able to receive it so I paid a penalty when I did sign up on it but this year they raised the cost of my Medicare part B again I am wondering why it was raised when several people did not have to pay a raise I also have Champ Va which pays the 20% that Medicare part B doesnt & I do not have Medicare part D because I get my meds through the Champ Va Meds By Mail program for free from a Veteran Hospital Pharmacy can you explain why my cost of Medicare part B when up when no one else has they raised my cost 16.00 more a month in Jan 2016 plus I was already paying the penalty which I understand why i had to pay a penalty even though I was not aware of getting a penalty if not taking Medicare part B when I was eligible to receive the Medicare part B I pay 190.00 a month for Medicare part B I was paying 174.00 until Jan of 2016...Thank You for your input !

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 06:56 Permalink

In reply to by Teresa Rushing (not verified)

Hi Teresa,
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services sometimes assess a premium adjustment based on income as well, you may have been assessed this fee. In addition, new enrollees to medicare would also have to pay an increased premium.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:41 Permalink
Teresa Rushing (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

I am not a new enrollee I have been on Medicare will be 2 years this July 1st so I dont consider that a new enrollee but is the
increase based on my income only or mine & my husband's combined.......Thank You

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:08 Permalink
Barb (not verified)

If I have Long Term Disability and SSD and for what ever reason SSD is discontinued. When I hit retirement age how would SSI be calculated?

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:58 Permalink
Joni (not verified)

I'm currently on ss disability. I am in the process of turning in my retirement papers at work. They said I have to take a disability retirement since I'm already on ss disability. I am 55 years old. Will my ss benefits stop when I get my work retirement?

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 16:55 Permalink

In reply to by Joni (not verified)

Hi Joni,
It would not if you are getting SSDI benefits based off of your work record. If you are getting income based SSI benefits, then you may have a change in benefits.

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:39 Permalink
Pamela (not verified)

I've been reading most of these comments. I am on SSDI and turn 66 in August of 2017. Am I understanding that I do not have to do anything or make any contacts for the conversion to SSA? They will just send me a letter? I've received dozens of notices to make contacts about me turning 65 this summer. Also, I'm confused about the $733 a month limit verses the $1,130. Is the later a monthly limit or an annual limit? I made a combined total of $787 this year singing at events in Feb, March, April, and June. If I go a little over $1,130 for 2016, do I need to call social security? Thank you.

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 21:02 Permalink

In reply to by Pamela (not verified)

Hi Pamela,
Yes, you may not have to do anything when your benefits convert to retirement benefits. Also, the $733 and $1,130 figures are in reference to monthly limits for SSI and SSDI benefits, they are two separate programs. It's a good idea to report any income to the SSA, generally.

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 09:51 Permalink
Pamela (not verified)

I am confused after reading all these comments if a person on disability can earn $733 a month or is it a max $1,130 a year?

Sat, 06/18/2016 - 22:43 Permalink
Judi Stanley (not verified)

This is a question; I was born in 1961. ( I'm pretty sure I became disabled in or before 2005, then it took til 2009 to get my benefits. Question is, what Is the retirement age, and WILL my benefits go Down??? If so, by how much and When? I am not able to work at All, and most certainly won't be able to at a later age!! Please help and reply!! Thank you So very much!!! I am very frightened for my future, as I am barely making ends meet now; much less what it would be like on another 12 years!! Thank you, Judi Stanley...

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 05:56 Permalink
vesta (not verified)

I am going to be 63 in November, and have been drawing SSDI for almost 10 years. Can I draw on my husband's SS account instead, or do I have to wait until I'm 66? It would mean an increase of almost $400 a month over what I draw if I get the amount he would get at 62 (he's going to be 61 in Dec of 2016).

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 15:31 Permalink

In reply to by vesta (not verified)

Hi vesta,
Yes, you may be able to draw off of your husband's account once he is eligible for retirement benefits and starts receiving them.

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 16:13 Permalink
Rener (not verified)

I collect SSDI, after jumping through all of the state requirements, I will soon begin collecting Retirement Disability, I was a teacher, what happens with the SSDI? I am 52 with RA, LUPUS and a number of other medical issues. Thanks

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:09 Permalink

In reply to by Rener (not verified)

Hi Rener,
When you become eligible for retirement benefits, you would start receiving those benefits, and you be ineligible for SSDI benefits. However, the amount may stay the same.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 16:51 Permalink
Jean (not verified)

I am 63 currently receive SSDI.How would I find out if it would make more since to go on SS and receive a portion of my ex husbands SS since he has retired from the city and gets a fairly large SS check? I possible could make more monthly income. Would I need to wait until I am 66?

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 14:35 Permalink
KenH (not verified)

I am 60 years old and have applied for SSDI. If my SSDI benefit (if approved) were $2000 p/mos, and my SS benefit were $ 2500 at age 66 plus 2 mos, when my SSDI automatically converted to the retirement benefit does it remain the same or is it adjusted to the SS retirement benefit amount?

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 10:51 Permalink
Rodi (not verified)

I received social security disability for a number of years. In July, 2016 I turn 66 years old and therefore my disability income will turn into full retirement income. At least this is my understanding.
The confusion starts because I also receive a spousal benefit. I received a letter from social security stating that the spousal benefit amount was "incorrect" and the new amount which I will start receiving in July, was higher my more than a $100.00...

I was confused and called the social security office to clarify WHEN should I have started to receive a higher spousal benefit (I am a widow)

Does social security owe me retroactively? The customer service representative, after putting me on hold to speak with his manager, told me the ONLY thing he could do, was to FORWARD my inquiry to their PAYMENT CENTER, but the Center may, or may NOT answer me!!!

To complicate matters further, today I received another letter from social security stating that as of July, they will send me an X amount, but than they will start sending me a Y amount which is lower than the one time only X amount... It is not by a lot, just little over $100.00. but why is it a one time?
I am VERY confused. I don't understand how could the Payment Center be above the law and not reply if they don't feel like it?
Also, if the spousal benefit was incorrect, shouldn't I be receiving retroactive payments?

I hope this confusing story is clear enough to get a reply. I don't know where to START? Should I first go to social security in person?
Should I see my Representative? Should I just see a lawyer? I appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 00:01 Permalink

In reply to by Rodi (not verified)

Hi Rodi,
This is a great question! The SSA sometimes can make adjustments of benefits based off of new information, though I'm not sure that means you'd be eligible for retroactive pay. Additionally, the SSA does have to follow all applicable laws and statutes, it's just that there may be a high volume of calls and as such the Payment Center may not be able to respond to every single call. You may want to see your Social Security representative for more details.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 09:51 Permalink
Beth S. (not verified)

My friend formerly on disability is now going to retirement social security. She just got a letter that she will get her retirement social security in another month- leaving her without any income for an entire month. Is this legal? Thanks.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 15:09 Permalink

In reply to by Beth S. (not verified)

Hi Beth,
You friend may have misread that letter, as there may be no gap in payment between the time their disability payments stop and when their retirement benefits begin. If it did not specify that their disability benefits would cease, I'm pretty sure that this may be the case.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 15:58 Permalink
Rosemary Conway (not verified)

Good evening. I just got married on July 1, 2016 and I am receiving Social Security disability. I'm wondering if I will have to pay taxes now since my spouse makes over $50,000 annually. Thanks in advance for your help!

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 22:09 Permalink

In reply to by Rosemary Conway (not verified)

Hi Rosemary,
I would not be able to say what your tax liability may or may not be, as it would be different depending on how you file your taxes. However, yes, you may have to pay taxes on part of your disability income.

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 09:57 Permalink
Georgia (not verified)

My son was on social security disability because of a severe learning disability when he was 19. His girlfriend was his payee. 5 or so years later he was able to find a job that paid more and so he went off SS. He is now 35 years old and has had a hard time finding employment because of some bad choices he made and has some spent some time in prison. This combined with his low IQ has made it really difficult for him. Can we re apply for his disability and will they take into account he was approved before?

Sun, 07/10/2016 - 00:10 Permalink

In reply to by Georgia (not verified)

Hi Georgia,
He definitely may be able to re-apply, people who have been able to find work that accommodates them may be able to get back on disability if they need to.

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 10:04 Permalink
Danny (not verified)

I'm receiving ssdi. I can start to collect my social security at age 62 which is 1 week away. Would I get both if I elect to get my SS now instead of at age 66 or lose money by doing so or can I do so?

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 10:51 Permalink

In reply to by Danny (not verified)

Hi Danny,
Since there would be no change in your benefits amount when you convert to retirement at full retirement age, you may want to keep collecting SSDI benefits until that point.

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 13:33 Permalink
Sandra Hyder (not verified)

i draw disabilty il be 65 in Dec at this time ii get help paying my medicare if i drew off my ex husband would i lose the extra help im getting ?

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 10:45 Permalink

In reply to by Sandra Hyder (not verified)

Hi Sandra,
Who are you receiving help from? If the SSA is assisting you with Medicare payments, it's possible you'll lose this assistance if your disability payments rise.

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 11:58 Permalink
Dennis McClure (not verified)

If one is getting SS disability benefits and returns to full time work at 65 (a year before full retirement age) how much is the benefit reduced by?

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 13:19 Permalink

In reply to by Dennis McClure (not verified)

Hi Dennis
you may not have a reduction in benefits because you did not take early retirement, but it may alter your work record for the purposes of calculating retirement benefits. I would not be able to say how much it would be reduced as I do not know how much your benefit its.

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:07 Permalink

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