YOU ASK:

Do Social Security disability benefits change at retirement age?

WE ANSWER:

Now, don't get too excited as you imagine yourself getting two checks - one for your disability and the other is for your retirement. This is not the case.

You should not also worry that your disability benefits will "stop" once you reach retirement age. In a way, it will stop, but what you will get is one check from Social Security. Whatever disability benefit amounts you receive will continue, only that these benefits will be referred to as retirement benefits rather than disability benefits. This is automatic and you don't need to apply for anything.

What will change, though, and this is good news is that you can receive your benefits and still continue working without having to worry if you exceed the income limits or not. In contrast with Social Security disability benefits, which will stop once you exceed a certain level of income, Social Security retirement benefits don't have any limits on what you earn.

What can also change will be the amount that you stand to receive as benefits. There are adjustments made based on the current Cost of Living levels.

Please remember that Social Security handle the two programs - disability and retirement. If you are eligible for disability (due to the fact that you have earned the requisite number of work credits), you should also expect that you are also eligible for retirement benefits, when that time comes. Social Security may pay retirement benefits when an employee is at least 62 years of age.

A difference between the Social Security disability program and the retirement program is that disability benefits are paid using general tax revenues, while retirement benefits are paid using the contributions made by Social Security members or members of their family.

Another difference is that disability payments will stop when the disabled beneficiary dies, earns more than the stated maximum income or when the payment period is finished. Social Security retirement pays even when the beneficiary dies (in this case, the benefits are paid as survivor's benefits to the beneficiary's surviving dependents). Also, the payments for retirement benefits are "full" as opposed to disability benefits that may be subject to deductions based on the beneficiary's present income.

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