Social Security disability benefits provide financial stability for people who cannot work because of a medical condition. If you meet eligibility requirements, there’s no reason to expect a disability benefits change after 65.
The information about the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs explains how they work and what happens when a beneficiary ages. You’ll see how reaching full retirement age may affect the source of your benefits without changing the amount you receive. If you have any questions as you read this material, contact a disability lawyer at Sackett Law for answers and assistance with your benefits.
Understanding Disability Benefits
Social Security administers the SSDI and SSI programs that provide monthly payments to people with disabilities that prevent them from working. SSI is a needs-based program for children and adults who are blind or disabled with limited resources and income. An individual’s maximum monthly federal benefit is $943 in 2024.
SSDI is a disability program for adults with a record of working and paying Social Security taxes on their income. If you become disabled before retirement age, SSDI pays monthly benefits based on your lifetime earnings. The maximum monthly SSDI benefit payable in 2024 is $3,822, but the Social Security Administration estimates the average monthly SSDI payment in 2024 will be $1,537.
You may wonder: Will my disability benefits change when I reach a specific age? The answer depends on the source of the benefits.
Payments through SSI continue for as long as a person’s income and resources do not exceed the program’s limits. The person must meet the disability definition with a medically determinable physical or mental impairment expected to last for at least 12 months, preventing them from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
Age 65 becomes significant for someone receiving SSI benefits only if there is an improvement in their medical condition that would make them ineligible for disability benefits. Someone who is age 65 or older and meets the resource and income restrictions to qualify may receive SSI without being blind or disabled.
Disabled workers receiving SSDI benefits will see a change when they reach age 65, but it’s not something to be concerned or worried about. Monthly disability payments continue until you reach full retirement age, but Medicare coverage begins at 65 for SSDI beneficiaries who did not already qualify for it.
Will My SSDI Benefits Change After Age 65?
When a worker qualifies for SSDI benefits, the amount they receive represents their Social Security retirement benefit at full retirement age. Age 65 was the retirement age at one time, but changes to the Social Security Act through the years changed it.
The full retirement age is determined based on a person’s birth year. For example, someone born on or after 1960 must wait until they are 67 to receive Social Security retirement benefits. If that person becomes disabled before retirement, they receive SSDI until age 67 when they convert to Social Security retirement.
A change at age 65 that may affect some people who receive SSDI benefits has to do with Medicare. Medicare is a health insurance program available when a person reaches age 65. However, someone younger than 65 with a disability may qualify for Medicare coverage when they receive SSDI, but there is a 24-month waiting period. The waiting period does not apply to SSDI beneficiaries diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or end-stage renal failure.
SSDI beneficiaries who reach age 65 during their 24-month waiting period become eligible for Medicare coverage based on their age. They continue to receive SSDI payments each month until the payments convert at full retirement age.
Do Disability Benefits Change After 60?
A person between 60 and full retirement age may find it easier to get benefits through SSDI than someone younger. Rules used to determine worker eligibility for disability benefits change after 60.
The Social Security Administration considers that older workers may not be able to adapt to new types of work as readily as younger workers. To accommodate this, Social Security uses grids or rules in the following categories for workers age 60 and older that may differ from those used to evaluate younger applicants:
- Residual functional capacity
- Previous work experience
- Skills transferable to a different type of work
Get Help With Disability Benefits
Getting the Social Security disability benefits you need and deserve is not easy. Social Security approves fewer than one-third of applications during the initial determination process. Learn how an experienced and compassionate disability lawyer can help you navigate the application process and, if necessary, appeal a denial of your claim. Contact Sackett Law today to arrange for a free consultation.