The Social Security Administration (SSA) says that when a person reaches full retirement age, their Social Security Disability will turn into regular Social Security retirement benefits. This rule applies to both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The SSA manages both the SSDI and SSI programs, but they have different eligibility requirements. Also, SSDI usually pays higher monthly cash benefits than SSI.
According to the SSA retirement benefits planner, a person’s full retirement age can range between 65 and 67 years of age, depending on the month and year of your birth. People born after 1942 have a full retirement age of 66 years or older. Those born in 1960 or later must wait until they are 67 years old to start collecting full retirement benefits.
The benefit amount does not change when it converts into Social Security retirement benefits, except for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). The AARP says that your SSDI benefits are the same as your retirement benefits would be at full retirement age, no matter how young or old you were when you became disabled.
The SSA also lets you get Medicare benefits early if you receive SSDI. You can be eligible for Medicare after you get disability benefits for two years, even if you are not yet 65 years old.
How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits
The SSA does not pay disability benefits for short-term or partial disability. You must be 100 percent disabled according to SSA definitions, and your impairment must keep you from being able to work for at least one year or be a fatal condition.
You must meet the following criteria for the SSA to consider you disabled:
- You cannot perform any job you had before becoming disabled
- You cannot start a new line of work with additional education or job training because of your medical condition
- Your disabling condition has already lasted, or the SSA expects it to last for at least one year, or medical experts do not expect you to survive the illness or injury
What If Your Condition Is Determined to Be Disabling?
Even if the SSA determines that your medical condition is disabling, you must also meet the following requirements to qualify for SSDI benefits:
You Accumulated Enough Work Credits for the Age When You Became Disabled
You can get up to four work credits a year, one every quarter, when you work at a job that pays Social Security taxes. The Social Security taxes that come out of your paycheck provide the funding for the SSDI program. Older workers need more work credits than younger ones.
Your Monthly Earnings Do Not Exceed the Limit for SSDI Benefits
Non-blind individuals must not make more than $1,260 a month, and statutorily blind individuals must not make more than $2,110 a month. If you do, the SSA will say that you are not disabled, no matter how severe your medical condition is.
You must meet all of the criteria to start collecting SSDI benefits. Many people lack the required number of work credits for their age when they become disabled. Congress created the Supplemental Security Income program as a safety net for disabled people with very little income and few financial resources.
You Must Meet Eligibility Requirements to Receive SSI Payments
According to Benefit.gov, the SSI benefits program has different criteria than the SSDI program for determining eligibility. Because the funding for SSI benefits comes from the federal government’s general funds instead of Social Security taxes, you do not need work credits to qualify for SSI.
You do have to meet the same level of disability as with SSDI. In other words, you must have a severe, long-term medical condition that prevents you from working. The SSA does not count all of your assets or income toward the program limits.
For example, the SSA does include your wages, pensions, and Social Security benefits as income. However, it does not count assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called food stamps, the majority of home energy assistance program benefits, and shelter you receive from private and nonprofit organizations. Your countable income will reduce your SSI benefits.
Individuals cannot own more than $2,000 in countable resources. The limit for couples is a total of $3,000. The SSA does not count your residence, your car (in most situations), term life insurance, and burial plots.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Issues
Once people reach their full retirement age, their Social Security Disability turns into regular Social Security retirement benefits. However, if you still have questions about SSD benefits or need to appeal an adverse ruling on your disability benefits application, an attorney at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers may help you with your case.
You can call us today. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.