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 Tom J. (not verified)

Hi Tom,
I'm very sorry for your loss.
Yes, you may be eligible for benefits based on your spouse's work record.

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 09:38 Permalink

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,
some receive both because their retirement benefits are less than the Federal Benefit Limit of $733 a month. Because of that, they qualify for SSI benefits so that their benefits are at least $733 a month. Noone is able to receive SSDI benefits and retirement at the same time, however.

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 15:02 Permalink
Service Coordinator (not verified)

If a person is receiving SSI and SSDI and he is now entitled to receive retirement benefits. Will he still receive SSI income?

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 16:23 Permalink

In reply to by Service Coordinator (not verified)

Hi there,
Yes, people receiving retirement income can be eligible for SSI benefits, if they are still otherwise eligible.

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 09:39 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

My husband is active duty military and we are getting orders to live overseas. His mom lives with us and is a military dependant and will be moving with us. Will she loose her SSI benefits and her health care?

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 21:34 Permalink
Diane (not verified)

I've been on SSD since age 45. I will be 65 in November. I was misinformed when eligible for Medicare that I was on cobra & could wait. So, my information was false & I've been paying that 10% penalty. With no COLA last year, my monthly check went down. I was told 2 years ago that age 65 I will transfer to full retirement & be newly enrolled in Medicare & no more penalty. So, I've been ecstatically counting til no more penalty. But Now, I see I have to wait another YEAR! (Born 1951) How can they keep changing it & then lying to me? I'm devastated! I've been counting the days! Now, another year!
My question is even if I have to wait another year for full retirement, were they correct that my Medicare still begins anew at 65 with no more penalty?
Also, my husband is 72 & transferred from SSD to full retirement when he turned 65 in 2009. I read another comment if husband received more social security due to having earned more money, that the answer was that she can get more social security based on his earnings. If, so how does it work & how do I get this? What do I need to do? Thanks

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 22:20 Permalink
Diane (not verified)

Forgot to ask, but when did they mess us up & change age for retirement?
My husband was born in 1944, & he transferred to full retirement in 2009 at age 65. They even contacted him and helped him enroll innMedicare part B began getting Medicare part B which he had not had while on SSD.

When did the millionaires in Congress who don't need social security change it for us poor folks? And, if no COLA increase this year, next year I'll get even less money if I can't transfer & the penalty increases, again.

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 22:33 Permalink
Deb (not verified)

I am on disability. I also get a percentage of my Hubands disability when he passed. When will my income change if ever?

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 22:56 Permalink
Brian (not verified)

My son is mentally handicap and was receiving SSI for years. Now that I am on Social Security my wife's Social Security has been reduced $112 a month so that my son can be put on Social Security. This was done deceptively, never saying that the amount he would get would be taking out of our amount. I'm not sure if his SSI has been stopped or not, and don't want to leave him with nothing, but at a time when your getting a small amount to begin with its hard to cope with taking a reduction. I don't know the system, but it seems he could have just stayed on SSI.

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 12:32 Permalink

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

HI Brian,
I'm sorry to hear about that! If your wife became eligible for Medicare, then that $ 112 reduction may be because of that.

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:13 Permalink
Joan (not verified)

Is it a requirement that my disability benefits be automatically changed to retirement benefits when I'm 62,or can I request to be converted later at full retirement age? Will I still get my S.S.I benefits? Will I lose my Medicaid when I'm converted to retirement benefits?

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 03:30 Permalink

In reply to by Joan (not verified)

Hi Joan,
Because the amount does not change, there is no penalty for receiving retirement benefits at 62. If you are still considered eligible for Medicaid after your retirement (as it is a state run program, the criteria varies), you may still be covered. You would not lose them solely based on retirement.

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:14 Permalink
Charlene (not verified)

I will be 62 next year & I'm thinking of retiring, my husband receives SSDI. He is 59. Once I retire will I be able to receive any part of his SSDI.

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 18:08 Permalink
Bill (not verified)

When I reach 65 I have been disabled since I was 49 spine reconstruction basically bed bound will I get same amount I get on Ssdi when changed to ssi

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 10:41 Permalink

In reply to by Bill (not verified)

Hi Bill,
Your SSDI will not change to SSI, it will change to Retirement benefits at full retirement age. The benefit amount will not change.

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 10:12 Permalink
Jeanne C. (not verified)

I've been on SSI for over 35 years & I never worked long enough to pay into SS on my own work record. I was married to my ex for over 10 years. When I turn 66 next month, will I move to SS benefits based on his work record or stay on SSI? If I change, will the amount I collect increase?

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 20:54 Permalink

In reply to by Jeanne C. (not verified)

Hi Jeanne,
You may be eligible to collect benefits based off of your Ex's work record if he is receiving social security disability benefits or if he is receiving retirement benefits.

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:38 Permalink
Cheryl (not verified)

I am on disability since 2006. I have an outstanding NYS retirement loan....what happens when I am of retirement age? I'm afraid I won't have any income when it converts. What happens when I die to loan?Also my son is receiving a check since I am on SSD and hes 18in Dec what happens to his portion? Is it gone? Do I then receive the $? I need to make sure I can survive financially

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 08:58 Permalink

In reply to by Cheryl (not verified)

Hi Cheryl,
I'm not really knowledgeable about finance, so I really could not give you advice about your retirement loan with any confidence. However, I do know that your child may stop receiving benefits once they are 18, however you would not receive that money yourself after that point.

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 09:47 Permalink
Judy (not verified)

I started receiving ssdi in May of this year.My question is do I use my existing insurance or do I have to be on Medicare insurance? I'm also turning 65 in June 2017, do I need to sign up for Medicare then.

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:26 Permalink

In reply to by Judy (not verified)

Hi Judy,
Generally you become eligible for Medicare two years after you become disabled. With Medicare after retirement, you do not have to enroll immediately, but you may face penalties for late enrollment.

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:38 Permalink
Lori (not verified)

I am eligible to receive a pension when I turn 60. How will this affect my social security disability benefits?

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 10:47 Permalink
R James Leghey (not verified)

If I recieved SSDI when can I increase my award if I go on my husbands work record instead of mine? If not now can I increase it at 65 and will it affect his monies

Sat, 09/24/2016 - 10:20 Permalink

In reply to by R James Leghey (not verified)

Hi there,
You can increase your benefits if you are eligible for benefits on your spouse's work record and you are not entitled to a larger amount of benefits under your own work record.

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 14:13 Permalink
Mary (not verified)

My husband is an amputee, been on ssdi for 5 years. I understand when he reaches retirement age that the check amount will not be affected, however, when I go to retire, can I draw half of his check amount at the ssdi benefit, or does it revert to half of his amount if he was not disabled?

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 15:43 Permalink

In reply to by Mary (not verified)

Hi Mary,
You would be eligible for auxiliary benefits on his account for about half of what he would be receiving at that time. His benefits may not change when they convert to retirement benefits.

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 14:17 Permalink
Patricia (not verified)

I'm 61, trying to get disability benefits. My husband will be 66 and get full retirement. If I get disability, will I still get my husbands SS benefits at 62 added to my disability. I was going to take early retirement at 62 anyway, and would of received it.

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:12 Permalink
Debbie S. (not verified)

This is an amazing resource for help with a very frustrating benefit program! My question is this: My children's father was on SSI and SSDI until NH decided that I made enough on my SSDI, $788, to support him and our two minor children. Since my rent was more than that, I don't understand how I was supposed to be able to support the 4 of us with just the additional $238 he was still receiving from SSDI at that time. Anyways, he was sent a disability review, but we had moved so he didn't receive it. In 2014, his SSDI was stopped. I contacted the Concord NH SSA office and they told me what happened. When I asked what I could do, they said to complete the medical review information and bring it to the SSA office and file a reconsideration. At this time, we were in VT so I did what I was told there. This was in 2015. He still isn't receiving anything, but will be 62 in March of 2017. I do not know how to proceed with any of this. Do I file another reconsideration? Or do I just apply for his early retirement? Both? Neither? Obviously, I am clueless! By the way, my son's benefits on my record had been stopped because of a clerical error and it took over a year to get those reinstated! I have even more horror stories!

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 18:16 Permalink

In reply to by Debbie S. (not verified)

Hi Debbie,
While you may have filed the reconsideration in Vermont, SSI funds are handled by state (meaning that you may have to re-apply when you move to a new state), and so you may need to re-apply in Vermont for SSI benefits.

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 10:32 Permalink
Suzanna (not verified)

I'm on disability and I see that it won't change over to retirement until I reach 66. So that means if I decide to work as a waitress two days a week, I'll have to report that income. If I wait until I'm 66 do I still have to report that extra income?

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 00:26 Permalink
Ann (not verified)

My ex is receiving SSDI benefits He was born in 1957. Is he going to be able to collect 50% of my soc sec benefits when he reaches retirement age and if so at what age will he be able to do this.

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 17:29 Permalink

In reply to by Ann (not verified)

Hi Ann,
He would not collect half of your benefits, he would collect an amount that would be about half of your benefits if he was eligible to do so. The amount of money that you would get from the SSA would not be affected by an ex collecting on your work record.

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 15:43 Permalink
Ann (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

thank you for your reply to my question 9-30-2016 re; my ex receiving half of my soc sec. He is currently collecting SSDI. What is the criteria for him being eligible , and would the amount be based on my estimated amount at 62,66 or 70. I am not collecting soc sec at this time . I understand your answer I'm not clear on "if he was eligible". If I don't collect soc sec until 70 is his amt based on that or my first eligibility at 62.I am 66 at this time and he is 59

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:19 Permalink

In reply to by Ann (not verified)

Hi Ann,
He would need to meet these criteria:
You were married to the person for over ten years;
You are at least 62 years old;
You are currently unmarried; and
You are not eligible for a larger Social Security payment on your own record.

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 16:42 Permalink

In reply to by ann (not verified)

Hi Ann,
If you would get less money on your own work record than your spouse's work record and you are eligible for benefits on their account, you would get benefits based on their work record.

Mon, 10/10/2016 - 10:30 Permalink
Nancy (not verified)

I have been on SSDI since 1996, receive long term disability that will stop at 65, will my Social Security increase due to losing long term from work?

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 14:04 Permalink

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