From Disability to Retirement: What Happens to Your SSDI Benefits at Age 65?

What happens when someone with Social Security disability benefits reaches age 65? Here are 5 things to know about converting disability to retirement benefits.

Individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can expect to see quite a change when they turn 65. 

At that age, SSDI benefits are converted to traditional Social Security benefits. What does that mean for Social Security SSDI beneficiaries?

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Will My Disability Benefits Change When I Turn 65?

No your disability benefits won't change in the sense that they'll be different benefits. But they will change from Social Security Disability Insurance to Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65.

If you receive benefits from SSDI, at age 65 they will stop and your Social Security retirement benefits will kick in. 

1. You do not need to take any action to convert SSDI to retirement benefits

Your benefits will technically change from Social Security Disability Insurance to Social Security retirement benefits at the appropriate time.

There is no action that you must take. You will still receive your monthly check just as you always have. 

You may not collect Social Security disability and retirement benefits at the same time.

2. When does social security disability convert to regular social security benefits?

Your social security disability will convert to regular social security benefits once you reach full retirement age! You aren't allowed to have both coverage, and your social security disability will automatically convert to regular social security benefits.

Only people born before 1937 receive full Social Security retirement benefits upon turning 65. The rest of us will have to wait a little longer, and that includes people who receive Social Security disability benefits. 

People born in 1958 (turning 65 in 2023) must wait until they are 66 years and 8 months old before they reach “full retirement age” and their conversion from Social Security disability to retirement benefits will take effect.1

The rest of the breakdown of how old you must be to reach Social Security’s full retirement age according to your year of birth is as follows:

  • Born in 1957 - 66 years, 6 months
  • 1958 - 66 years, 8 months
  • 1959 - 66 years, 10 months
  • 1960 - 67 years

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3. The amount of your Social Security benefits check is not likely to change

When you become eligible for disability benefits, Social Security sets your benefit amount as if you had reached full retirement age. For most beneficiaries, the amount of their Social Security retirement benefit check remains the same as their Social Security disability benefits check. 

One exception to this rule is if you are receiving workers’ compensation or a public disability benefit from a government job for which you did not pay Social Security taxes. These additional benefits can reduce your actual Social Security disability payment amount. That reduction may end when you reach full retirement age, and your monthly check amount may increase at that time. 

4. You’re no longer subject to limits on your earnings

When you’re on disability benefits, any additional income you earn can potentially limit your disability benefit payment amounts. But those limits are lifted when your benefits are converted to Social Security retirement benefits.

That means you can increase your income through a part-time job without impacting your monthly benefit amount. 

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5. You cannot convert SSDI to retirement benefits before age 65

Reaching age 62 opens the door for collecting partial Social Security benefits. However, if you are collecting Social Security disability benefits, you will not be able to convert your benefits to Social Security retirement benefits until you reach age 65 at the earliest. 

Find out how to save on your Medicare costs

Reaching retirement age means that you may also be considering your Medicare coverage options.

Medicare can be confusing, and depending on where you live, there may be a number of different Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans available in your area.

Call to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help answer your Medicare questions and help you find a plan that fits your coverage needs and your budget. You can also compare plans online for free, with no obligation to enroll.

Compare plans today.

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About the author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

Christian has written hundreds of articles for that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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