You are here

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.


Shane ~ November 10th, 2016 I will turn 66 and my status will change from disability income to retirement income. Will I then have to pay federal and state income taxes on this income? I have not been paying any taxes while on social security disability. Thank you

Hi Debbie,
Congratulations on your upcoming birthday! I would not be able to say as I do not know your exact situation. It would depend on how much money you earn, and the sources of that money as well.

My husband is on disability and I started drawing SS at 62. I don't work due to taking care of him. 66 is our full retirement age. Will my check be increased any at this time? I draw at least 2/3 less that him?

Hi Gwen,
You may be eligible for benefits based off of his work record at full retirement age if that amount is more than your current benefit amount.

What if someone on ssdi applies for ss a few months before nra -i.e. born April, 1951 but wants to apply for SSI (and get off ssdi) in August, 2016 -seven months before full nra. After the 11/2016 revisions to social security, do the same rules apply to persons on ssdi who apply for social security a few month before full nra? Or must the person on ssdi wait until full nra to 'switch/convert' to ss at all?

Hi there,
Your benefits amount may not change when you convert to retirement benefits, and you may change to early retirement while receiving SSDI.

I am now 67 and just had a hearing to appeal my denial of SSDI by Social Security. I became disabled when I was 64 and have been living off LTD which should go on until I'm almost 70. I don't want to receive retirement benefits until I'm 70 but I'm told that if I win my appeal I will get a lump sum payment, then automatically start getting regular retirement payments. I there a way to avoid this happening?

Hi Daniel,
Because the appeal is part of the application process, you may not be able to defer benefits payments.

I am on SSDI and long term disability i loose my LTD when i turn 65. SS deducted from the total of my SSDI by the amount i was getting from long LTD when i loose my LTD will i get the deduction back on my SS ?

Hi Charles,
Yes, if SS has been deducting your payments to account for LTD, your SS payments should rise once your LTD ends.

Question. I am receiving 138.00 of my ex husbands SS. I'm also on disability. When I reach full retirement age, is that all I will get is 138.00?

Hi Deborah,
Yes, when you hit your full retirement age your disability benefits likely will not change.

I have spent hours scouring the internet to no avail searching for an answer to this question. Please if anyone knows or can direct me to a site/person who can help I would appreciate more than you know. My husband became disabled at age 63 in 2014. He will turn full retirement age at 66 in 2017. We know the file and suspend laws were all changed this year. I too am on disability and draw from my own work history, so do not need to draw from him. What we want to do is before his Social Security Disability income converts to retirement Social Security Income on his 66th birthday is stop the conversion and delay starting his regular Retirement Social Security for as long as possible, hopefully until he reaches 70. We both lost our retirement health care supplement through the company we retired from which will put a large unexpected financial burden on us. If we can do without his social security for the short term we feel it will be more beneficial to us down the road being able to draw the accrued growth from holding off starting his retirement Social Security. Iv'e not seen one person ask this question in the hundreds of sites Iv'e scoured. I realize we are unusual in that I have my Social Security income in place and would not need to draw a spousal portion, which has been stopped by law at this point anyway, the way I understand it. So if anyone has any knowledge of advice to offer us with this scenario, and how exactly would be the best way to go about stopping his Disability Income before it converts, I would genuinely be grateful for the help.

Hi Susan,
There may not be any benefit to having your husband defer his retirement as he is receiving the full amount of his SSDI benefit, and that benefit would amount may not change when he converts to retirement benefits.

I was born in 1961. I'm on SSDI. So mine won't change to retirement benifits till I'm 67? Will I get medicaid then too or benifits stay the same? roofs are VERY damaged on the house I own (completely paid for) I couldn't afford insurance on house any more can I get help to fix my house so I don't become homeless?
Last much money can I make a month or year and not lose my benifits. I mean selling my art or something. I don't like to leave my house i I'm diagnosed bi polar and attention deficit. I'm a hermit

Hi Heide,
1) Your full retirement age will depend on both the year and month you are born, so yes, you may have to wait until age 67 for retirement benefits. However, the benefit amount would not change.
2) I'm not entirely sure what would be available to you, but it may be a good idea to contact your local Habitat for Humanity chapter, they help people with housing.
3) You may be able to make up to $ 1,030 a month and still be eligible for benefits.

Hi Kathy,
Regardless of payments, you'll need to have been married for at least 10 years.

My husband has terminal cancer and receives Ssdi - our son is 17 and collects 50% of his earnings- my husband reaches full retirement on 8-25-16.will my son continue to recieve his benefit ?

Hi Holly,
Your son may be eligible for benefits based off your husband's work history under retirement as well as SSDI.

I was on SSDI until I turned 66 and now I'm on regular SS. I'm wondering if I'm still eligible for the back to work program where there is help to get a job. I don't know if I can handle a full time job but I need extra money. I have a college degree but can't handle doing my previous job. I have anxiety, panic attacks and a kidney transplant and other diagnosises.

My wife only gets $442 on SSDI. She is 64. If I start taking SS at my regular retirement age 66, can she get 1/2 of my benefit ($2656), which would be much higher? She has not worked for many years.

Hi Jim,
Yes, your wife may be eligible for spousal benefits based off your work record.

Hi there,
It depends on the program, SSDI stops at 65 and SSI has no age cap.

Already collecting SSDI for years I realize it stays the same amount and turns into SS Retirement when I reach 66. Do I have to report to the SS Department to notify them or does it change automatically.

Hi there,
Your full retirement age may vary depending on when you were born, however it may not necessarily convert on your birthday.

Yes, but what AMOUNT do we get? The amount we are receiving on SSDI or the non-existent amount of social security that is based on income that we couldn't earn because we are disabled?

Hi Susan,
It will depend on what benefits you are receiving, I would not be able to say specifically because we are not affiliated with the SSA.

My husband has been on disability for 2 years. At that time I started receiving spousal support. When he reaches full retirement age will I still receive the same amount?

Hi Mamie,
If you're not enititled to a larger amount based on your work record, your benefits may stay the same.

Hi I am reading all the questions and comments..If you are on SSDI and born in 1957... would you be converted to SS retirement at 62 or the 66 6 months? When converted to retirement after being on SSDI is it true you can work with no penality? I am confused thank you for your insight.

Hi Mimi,
It may be possible for you to take early retirement while on SSDI with no penalty.

Does the SS office contact you to tell you when you go from SSDI to regular SS at 62? if I was born in 1957? also when you get on SS can you work if you felt up to it after converting to ss from ssd? thanks

Hi Mimi,
generally the SSA automatically converts disability benefits to SS retirement benefits automatically at full retirement age( this will vary depending on yur age). Also, there are no earnings limits for retirement benefits, so yes you may be able to work while on retirement benefits.

I am on ss disability. I will be 65 in November. I would like to try to work a job just part time until this November. Will it effect my disibility.

Hi Brenda,
it may if you earn over $1,130 a month, but once your benefits convert to retirement, there are no earnings limits.

My wife is 63 and been on SSDI for 11 years. I am 64 should I wait until I am 70 to draw maximum benefits, or should I start drawing now?

Hi Jeff,
Unfortunately, you may be receiving the maximum amount at the moment, when you convert to retirement benefits the amount will not change.

I am still working and not drawing S.S., when my wife turns 66 FRA, can she draw spousal S.S. off mine and not affect my benefit when
I start drawing at 70?

Hi Jeff,
Your wife may be eligible for benefits based off of your work record if she is not entitled to a larger benefits based off of hers.

My disability cks have been going directly to HUMANA for the past year plus. Upon my 65th birthday do the payments start coming directly to me again? Being born in 1951 puts me in a "no mans land". I'm am stage 4 non Hodgkin's and need infusions every 8wks. I can't afford any misteps during my converion period.

Hi there,
I'm not really sure as to why your checks would go directly to Humana, and as such I'm really not sure as to how to advise you in this case. I would contact both Humana and the SSA to find out why they are being disbursed to Humana if you are not sure why currently.

Hi John,
Generally, the benefit amount is the same for disability benefits and retirement benefits.

I have been on SSDI for several years. My wife retired and only received 1 SSR check and passed away. When I transfer from SSDI to SSR can I receive SSR based on her working income ?