If an individual is receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, the benefits will automatically get converted to retirement benefits. However, the amount will remain the same and will not change. 

An applicant cannot receive disability benefits and retirement benefits at the same time on one earnings record. 

If you are applying for Social Security Disability, you need to understand how the disability benefits may impact your retirement benefits. 

What Is the Difference Between Disability And Retirement Benefits?

While both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and retirement benefits originate from the Social Security Fund, they serve distinct purposes. SSDI is intended for individuals with sufficient work credits who become disabled and unable to work for at least a year. 

It can be claimed at any age if the work credits criterion is met. On the other hand, retirement benefits are available when a worker reaches the age of 62, with the option to enhance them by waiting until full retirement age or maximizing payments by deferring benefits until age 70. All eligible recipients must commence collecting retirement benefits at age 70. (Learn more on Early Retirement v/s SSDI: Which Is Worth More In 2023?)

Can I Receive Social Security Disability And Retirement Benefits At The Same Time?

SSDI and retirement benefits are typically not received simultaneously. Those approved for SSDI usually receive benefits equivalent to what they would get at full retirement age, based on lifetime earnings. (Read more on How Many Work Credits Do You Need For SSDI?)

If you’ve already opted for retirement benefits, acquiring disability benefits is usually not permissible unless you retire early due to a qualifying disability. There may be certain conditions that may automatically qualify you for disability, such as back pain, severe sciatica, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

In such cases, you might be eligible for the disparity between your full retirement benefit and the early retirement amount received as a disability benefit.

Is It Better To Retire Early Or Go On Disability?

Choosing between early retirement and pursuing disability benefits depends on individual circumstances. Opting for early retirement might be appealing if you’ve reached the eligible age and won’t require a full or maximized retirement benefit due to other income sources like pensions or investments. 

However, depending on your financial situation, pursuing disability benefits may make more sense, allowing you to secure benefits without sacrificing the potential for full or maximum retirement benefits. (Learn more on how to apply for disability benefits?)

What Happens to My Disability Benefits When I Reach Retirement Age?

Upon reaching full retirement age, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits seamlessly transition into retirement benefits. The specific full retirement age is determined by your date of birth, with later-born individuals having higher full retirement ages. This automatic conversion ensures a smooth continuation of benefits for SSDI recipients as they transition into retirement.

How Can a Disability Law Firm Help You With Your Disability Claim?

An experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer can provide crucial assistance in navigating the complexities of the disability claims process. From gathering essential medical evidence to preparing persuasive legal arguments, they play a pivotal role in presenting a solid case. They provide valuable legal guidance on meeting strict deadlines and ensure you pursue disability benefits.