What Happens to Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 65?

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Reaching retirement age is often seen as a significant milestone accompanied by changes such as retirement. For individuals receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, turning retirement age can bring about questions and concerns regarding the continuity of their benefits.

In this article, we’ll explain how reaching retirement age may affect your SSDI payments and what you can expect.

What is SSDI?

SSDI provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and offers monthly payments to eligible individuals to help cover living expenses.

However, when SSDI recipients reach retirement age, the dynamics of their benefits can undergo significant shifts. The year this happens depends on the year when you were born. People born after 1937 have to wait longer than age 65. Here is when SSDI benefits switch to retirement benefits based on your birth year:

  • Born in 1938: 65 years and 2 months
  • Born in 1939: 65 years and 4 months
  • Born in 1940: 65 years and 6 months
  • Born in 1941: 65 years and 8 months
  • Born in 1942: 65 years and 10 months
  • Born between 1943 and 1954: 66 years
  • Born in 1955: 66 years and 2 months
  • Born in 1956: 66 years and 4 months
  • Born in 1957: 66 years and 6 months
  • Born in 1958: 66 years and 8 months
  • Born in 1959: 66 years and 10 months
  • Born in 1960 or later: 67 years

What happens to SSDI benefits at retirement age?

One of the most significant changes that occur when an individual on SSDI hits retirement age is the transition from disability benefits to retirement benefits. At retirement age, individuals become eligible for full retirement benefits under the Social Security program. This transition typically happens seamlessly, with beneficiaries automatically shifted from SSDI to retirement benefits without the need for additional applications or paperwork.

While the shift from disability to retirement benefits occurs automatically, it’s essential to understand the financial implications of this transition. Generally, the amount of the benefit payment remains the same when transitioning from SSDI to retirement benefits. The SSA calculates retirement benefits based on your lifetime earnings, just like it does for SSDI benefits. Therefore, you can expect to continue receiving a similar monthly payment after the transition.

What else may happen to my benefits at retirement age?

When you reach retirement age, you may become eligible for additional benefits, such as Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for people aged 65 and older and for certain younger individuals with disabilities. SSDI recipients are typically enrolled in Medicare automatically at retirement age, providing them with essential healthcare coverage.

Note that transitioning from SSDI to retirement benefits doesn’t affect other forms of assistance or support you may be receiving, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. These programs have their eligibility criteria and rules, which may not be impacted by reaching age 65 or transitioning to retirement benefits.

What you should do now

If you are approaching retirement age and receiving SSDI benefits, start planning now for how your benefits will change. If you are preparing to transition to retirement benefits, the experienced disability attorneys at Hunter & Everage in Richmond, Virginia, are here to advocate for your rights and ensure your financial stability is protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you with your SSDI concerns.

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