How Long Social Security Benefits Continue
Once approved for disability, people often wonder, “How long will my Social Security benefits continue?” The answer is three fold. First, if you recover from your disability, your benefits will terminate. Second, if you are working performing substantial gainful activity, your benefits will end when you have used up all of Social Security’s several return-to-work incentives. If your benefits do not stop for one of these two reason, then your disability benefits will continue until your Social Security Normal Retirement Age—known as SSNRA.
Moving from Disability to Retirement
Your Social Security Normal Retirement Age fall between age sixty-five and sixty-seven, depending upon the year you were born. If you are still getting disability benefits when you reach your SSNRA, your benefits will change from disability benefits to retirement benefits. Conveniently, you do not have to file a Social Security Retirement application. When you reach Normal Retirement Age, you will automatically be switched to retirement benefits.
The amount of your retirement benefit at your SSNRA will be the same as your disability benefit if you did not receive reduced early retirement benefits before receiving disability benefits. If you did take early retirement before becoming disabled, your benefit at SSNRA will be less than your disability benefit, but more than your previous reduced retirement.
For a discussion of the many work-incentive programs offered by Social Security, including some with extended payment, please see our article “Can I Keep Getting Benefits When I Am Working on Social Security Disability?” For more information about substantial gainful activity, see “What Is Disability According to Social Security Disability Law?“