Does SSDI Stop When You Become Eligible for Social Security?

If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you’ve probably worried at some point about losing benefits. After all, the application process is notoriously long and cumbersome. If you’re nearing retirement age, those fears may become more pronounced. So what exactly happens to your SSDI when you reach retirement age?

The good news is that you won’t lose those monthly checks. Read on to learn what happens to Social Security disability when you retire.

How Social Security Disability Benefits Work

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have an illness or impairment that severely affects your ability to work. You’ll also need to provide evidence that your disability is either expected to last for at least a year or result in your death.

Essentially, SSDI benefits follow a similar formula as the one used for Social Security retirement benefits. Whether you’re receiving disability or retirement benefits, Social Security uses your earnings record to arrive at what’s known as your primary insurance amount. (In Social Security jargon, “primary insurance amount” means 100% of your retirement benefit.) Retirement benefits are calculated using your highest 35 years of earnings. Disability benefits are based on your average earnings before you became unable to work.

In a nutshell, Social Security calculates your disability benefit as if you’d reached full retirement age. That’s when you get your primary insurance amount, or 100% of your benefit. For anyone born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. But remember: If you meet Social Security’s strict definition of disabled, it’s as if you’re already at full retirement age. So let’s say you become disabled at 55. Social Security would still give you the benefit you’d normally get at full retirement age.

Despite the fact that you get your full Social Security benefit when you’re approved for disability, the average SSDI…

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