The Impact of Retirement on Existing SSDI Benefits

Q: What happens to my Social Security Disability benefits when I hit retirement age?

Social Security Disability Insurance, or “SSDI”, is a federal government program that protects those whose ability to work becomes impaired by a physical or mental condition that is expected to either last for a year or more or result in death.

The eligibility for and the amount of benefits is based on the applicant’s being determined to be “disabled” and on their work history. Because the amount of benefits is determined by a complex formula that factors in the age and time worked at the time of disability, the monthly benefits paid differ based on each person’s personal situation. Like the Social Security retirement system, only people who worked and paid into the Social Security system may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits.

SSDI benefits can be life-saving to individuals and families affected by a serious sudden or progressive disability that impacts their ability to earn a living. You don’t have to be bed-ridden to qualify for SSDI either. You can even earn some income as long as it does not exceed the earnings threshold, and still be classified as disabled and entitled to SSDI benefits. So it pays to consult an attorney with broad experience in the many legal areas of Social Security benefits law.

But what happens when someone who is receiving SSDI benefits approaches retirement age? Had s/he not been disabled, s/he might be retiring at the earliest possible age for which Social Security retirement benefits would be accessible.

Once the person receiving SSDI reaches the full retirement age, the SSDI benefits automatically convert to Social Security retirement benefits.

Individuals and couples should consult with a Social Security Disability Insurance attorney long before they reach the point of full retirement age to examine the many other factors that can affect their Social Security retirement benefits. This is especially important for couples as well as those who were previously married since the Social Security retirement benefits of spouses and former spouses may be impacted by those relationships, depending on the length of the marriage and the marital status and other factors. For example, it’s not uncommon for one former spouse to be entitled to receive an additional benefit from their ex’s record depending on certain variables.

If you need help with a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim or appeal, contact the Fresno Social Security Disability attorneys, Peña & Bromberg, PLLC today at 559-439-9700. We serve clients throughout California and nationwide.

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