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How long will my Social Security benefits continue after my disability begins?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  32 Comments

Get an answer to the question “How long will my Social Security benefits continue after my disability begins?” and learn why disability benefits stop.

how long do benefits lastHow 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?“

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  • Published: 12 months ago on March 3, 2016
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  • Last Modified: December 5, 2016 @ 6:23 pm
  • Filed Under: After Approval
  • Debbie

    If a person is receiving workers comp. durning that time they get a doctor to reveiw them and they say this hurts and that hurts, because doctor has said thr higher the rating the better chance of receiving SSD. They receive both checks monthly how does that work if WC will be paying for rest of their life or doing a settlement to pay that person. Yes there is a legal matter involved. I’m just courius as to how they can receive both supplements. A couple of the injuries didn’t happen the way they say (shared with people how really started).
    I really need help understanding how this works.
    Thank you for your time
    Debbie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Debbie,

      Whether workers compensation continues to be paid periodically or is paid in a lump sum settlement, Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) will be reduced. The maximum payable between the two benefits including monthly proration of a lump sum is 80% of the individual’s Average Monthly Earnings as determined by the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Debbie

        Thank you Kay. Sorry that my friend is receiving benefits under false statements.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Debbie.

  • Kat

    61 years old been on ssdi for 7.5 years and not received letter for reassessment for continual benefit but I assume it is in the works. Doctor (who is not my regular primary since she is on leave for a while) complete paperwork for me related to a insurance rider of premium and in the paper work stated I can return to work in 3 months. Not sure how she came up with this as it was first time seeing her and I am still seeing all the other doctors that are trying to treat me who believes I still need treatment. How does this affect my ssdi once up for renewal?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kat,

      A person can need treatment and still be able to work. If you believe that you cannot return to work or not within three months, I suggest that you talk with the doctor who completed the form to ask her to explain her prediction on return to work. If you think she is misinformed about your limitations, you can ask her to complete a new form for the insurance company with the reason for the adjustment (possibly not familiar with your history and when reviewed history, changed her mind). That way, if you have a continuing disability review (CDR), the records will include both statements. If a CDR comes up, you can also get opinions from your other doctors about your limitations and ability to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joe Geirk

    I injury to my back in 2010 had surgery Dec 07 2010. S1, L4,L5 fusion. Got,on ssa disability. Have not seen a Doctor in about 3years have a hard time walking and standing . And some times cant feel my feet . Had three knee injury s before back surgery. I Quit all meds due to the side effects in my thinking. I only use Ib 800msg. 3200 msg a day. And essential oils too. I am 59 years old. Can I get more help ? Please help.thank you Joe Geirk

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joe,

      You do not say how much you receive in Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If your benefits are less than $753 a month before withholding for Medicare premiums, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to supplement your SSD. If you live in a state with an SSI state supplement, the income limit could be a little higher. Depending on the amount of your income, you might be eligible for assistance with your Medicare premiums. More information is available at http://www.medicare.gov. Lastly, if you are not receiving SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps), that might be an option.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Andrea

    Good day Kay,

    I currently make $135000 and have been for the past 10+years. I was recently told by my doctors I would need to go on disability for the rest of my life because of a condition that I have that makes me forgetful and the type of work I do, and have been doing for the past 30 years I can no longer do. The information has been documented. I do not understand disability nor do I understand how it is calculated. All I know is I am single with a single family home . My kids are in college and I have to keep up with my mortgage and other bills. I am trying to pay my other bills off as we speak before I actually go out. I know how much I have in my SS but is it possible i may be able to keep my home when placed on disability? And at that salary you can imagine what my SS looks like. Everything has been documented by the doctors.

    • Andrea

      Do you know what I may possibly get monthly?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Andrea,

        Please see my response to your first post.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Andrea,

      Your benefit is based on your life-time earnings up to thirty-five years of earnings so I cannot estimate your benefit. You can get an estimate by setting up a “My Social Security” account at http://www.ssa.gov and requesting an earnings statement (not a benefit statement). The statement will give a disability benefit estimate which will be within a couple hundred of the actual amount.

      The first five full-calendar months of disability are not paid. I suggest that you check with your employer to find out if you are covered by a short-term disability (STD) policy that would provide income during that period. If not and if you do not have countable assets over $2,000 (your home and one car doesn’t count), you might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), for the months before the SSDI starts. However, the length of time to get approved–two to five months–is the same for both. (Neither SSDI nor SSI prohibits owning a home.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • heather brown

    hi kay . i cant seem to find my post

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      You posted your comment under “How long after I get my first monthly check will I get my back pay?”, which is under the “After Approval” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Heather

    Hi Kay , recently approved. My paper work states I will be up for review in 18 months. I have lesions on my spinal cord and my neurologist told me I will never get better and that I need to aspect it. I don’t understand why my review is not longer and why it says at the bottom expected to get better. Will this ever change or will it always be 18 months ? And if the Alj thinks I should get better what happens if I don’t ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      The length of time between reviews may be lengthened after the first review. The continuing disability review will not be conducted by the judge; it will be done by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). If the DDS examiner terminates benefits, you can appeal. Between now and when your review comes up, be sure to have regular medical care for your condition. If you have flares, see the doctor about them or minimally email or call and ask to have the flare documented in your medical file with a description of the symptoms so that you have a record of your condition and how it has affected in the last eighteen months you when your review comes up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • DM

    If someone aged 61 gets SSI based on a severe and permanent disability are they required to receive their regular SS retirement at the earliest possible time (age 62)? If they do take it and it amounts to 1000 a month, would that disqualify them from keeping the SSI? Would they lose their Medicaid benefit? (they do not receive SSDI)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear DM,

      Yes, when an SSI recipient turns sixty-two, he or she is required to receive reduced Social Security benefits. A $1,000 Social Security benefit will cause ineligibility for federal SSI. If the person lives in California, part of the SSI state supplement might continue. Medicaid would be lost as an entitlement secondary to SSI eligibility. When that happens, the person can apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act based on the qualifying event of having lost insurance, but the application must be made within sixty days of the other insurance ending. Depending on the state you are in and your income, you might qualify for a government subsidy that would provide free or very low cost insurance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • DM

    I understand SSA will automatically enroll me in Medicare after getting SSDI benefits for 2 years. Will they deduct my premium from my benefit check? Can I decline going on Medicare (at age 63) because I already have great health insurance (primary and secondary)?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear DM,

      You can decline Parts B and D Medicare for doctors and most outpatient services and prescriptions. Part A will continue at no cost because your wages were already taxed to cover Part A. However, before you decline these Medicare coverages, I suggest that you check your current insurance policy to be sure that it does not require you to enroll in Medicare Parts B and D upon becoming eligible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Wendy stafford

    I am thinking of moving to a new town were living is higher will my disability change

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      Neither Social Security nor Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits increase with geographic variations in cost of living. Some states pay an SSI state supplement, but it is not necessarily related to cost of living and the supplement is the same for all areas within the state.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,

  • Sistah Girl

    What’s th SSNRA if born in 1954?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sistah Girl,

      Social Security Normal Retirement Age (SSNRA), at which full benefits are payable, is age sixty-six for individuals born in 1954.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Thomas

    Will I still get SSDI in 2017?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Thomas,

      I am unable to answer you question. You do not provide any background and I wonder if you mean 2017 or another year?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • How can I get a copy of my letter from when I was approved? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      Contact your local office and ask them whether a duplicate letter can be issued. If you received a hearing decision, call the hearings office instead.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • SJ

    My letter from SSDI states that I have benefits until 2017. I have a review in 24 months. Does this mean I only will get checks until 2017, and then I will no longer get SSDI? I have not found any info backing this up anywhere online. I tried asking SSA, and they would not answer me. I just want to know what do I do in 2017, because I am sure I am not going to be improved by then, I have not improved my whole life yet thus far. I am mentally disabled. Bipolar and Schitzo Affective Disorder, PTSD and Anxiety with Depression. SO for a hypothetical, let’s say I do not improve and it is 2017. What do you think will happen? Will they end? THen what are my rights? Can I appeal or re apply? I really dont’ know what to think about that. I have the understanding that I did not need to worry about that, that I would have benefits for the rest of my life, like the article states, unless I go back to work or get well. I am unable to work. I am not well. Could you help me understand this? I just have a hard time with worrying and understanding things. I would like a firm answer from anyone. I talked to two ppl at SSA, and they would not tell me what would happen in 2017 for some reason. Is this a new policy or something? I wonder if other ppl are getting the same thing in their letters?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear SJ,

      When Social Security (SSD) and SSI disabiity claims are approved they are all set for medical reevaluation in the future–either 1, 3, 5, or 7 years. The length of time is based on likelihood of recovery, which is related in part to diagnosis. It appears that your review will be in three years.

      At that time you will be asked to provide updated medical information, including a list of medical providers and medications. (It is important that your remain under a physician’s care.) Your claim will be reviewed to see whether you have recovered medically. You will continue to receive benefits while the review is being conducted. If it is found that you are no longer disabled at that time, you will have the right to appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • SJ

        Oh thank you very much. That makes sense to me now. I appreciate your time.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, SJ.

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