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Find Out What Happens to Social Security Disability Benefits after Reaching Retirement Age

Thousands of people in the United States have a disability that qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In fact, 10,914 people received SSDI, and 8,389 received SSI in July 2014, according to the Social Security Administration. This helps disabled individuals who are unable to work because of an injury or an illness but who have not yet reached retirement age recover benefits to help them meet financial needs.

Not surprisingly, there’s some degree of concern and anxiety about reaching retirement age when some are worried about losing their benefits. Disability benefits after reaching retirement generally change to retirement benefits, though. The details of the change depend on whether you receive SSDI or SSI and whether you collect benefits at the early retirement age or full retirement age.

SSDI Disability Benefits after Reaching Retirement 

Depending upon the type of disability benefits you have – whether SSDI or SSI – the changes that occur upon reaching retirement age are different. However, in both cases, recipients may continue to receive benefits.

For those who receive SSDI, the SSDI benefits will switch to full retirement benefits upon reaching retirement age. But the amount of benefits you receive remains the same. This allows you to continue to receive the benefits you need without interruption.

However, in some cases, individuals may receive both retirement benefits and disability benefits. This might be possible if they take early retirement benefits and apply for SSDI. The individual in this case may receive the reduced early retirement benefit and receive disability benefits, though together they will add up to the full retirement benefit. Upon full retirement, the benefits will change to full retirement benefits.

Keep in mind, taking early retirement usually means collecting reduced benefits for the remainder of your life. But collecting early retirement as well as SSDI – if you were disabled before early retirement – allows you to collect the full retirement amount for the rest of your life. If you take early retirement but then later become disabled, you may receive only the reduced early retirement benefit — you may be unable to collect the full retirement benefit.

Also of note, the early retirement age is currently 62 and the full retirement age varies depending on year of birth. For those born in 1937 and prior, it’s 65. For those born in 1960 and later, it’s 67. For others, it’s somewhere in between. Early retirement reduces benefits by 5/9 of 1 percent for every month prior to the full retirement date, for up to 36 months; after that, the benefit is reduced further by 5/12 of 1 percent for each month.

SSI Disability Benefits after Reaching Retirement

For those receiving SSI benefits, upon reaching age 65, the benefits convert from benefits for a “Disabled Individual” to benefits for an “Aged Individual.” Retirement is not applicable here; SSI is intended for those who are disabled, blind or who are 65 and older (aged).

In order to receive the benefits for an Aged Individual, you don’t have to prove that you are disabled. In other words, the benefits shift from regular disability SSI benefits to aged SSI benefits. The amount of benefits will not change. This might be beneficial if you continue to meet the low-income and limited resources qualifications but are no longer disabled. If you are 65, you may continue to receive SSI even if you’re no longer disabled, as long as you meet the other requirements.

Legal Help for Social Security Disability Benefits 

The attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates can help you get organized, fill out all necessary forms accurately, file your case and fight for your rights to disability benefits if your claim is denied. Call Rob Levine, the Heavy Hitter ®, at 1-866-LAW-SSDI (529-7734).