Published on: December 22, 2016
Social Security can be a confusing program to deal with at times. There are so many different organizations and programs to deal with that it’s all too easy to get lost in the system.
Think about it: not only do you have to deal with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you have to contend with different state-level organizations, such as the Disability Determination Services (DDS) of Florida.
Plus, if you become disabled, there are multiple programs you may need to consider depending on your situation, including:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- State-level disability benefits programs
- Worker's comp
The list goes on. Some programs, such as SSI, even require applicants to file for every other kind of assistance program they possibly can before applying for SSI.
It’s little wonder that so many people have questions about disability benefits.
One of the most frequent questions we hear at Disability Experts of Florida is: “What about disability benefits after retirement?”
Disability Benefits After Retirement
You cannot collect both disability and retirement benefits under SSA-controlled programs at the same time.
So, if you’re already on retirement benefits and become disabled, you cannot then add disability benefits to your retirement benefits. If you’re an American worker born in or before 1944, you’re probably already on the full Social Security retirement benefits package, and thus cannot qualify for additional disability benefits.
What If I Reach Retirement Age While Collecting Disability Benefits?
If you’re already on SSDI when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically be converted into retirement benefits. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about losing benefit income—your benefit amount will remain the same.
SSI works a bit differently. If your retirement benefits would put you past the SSI income limit, then your SSI benefits will be terminated. However, it’s important to note that the 2016 SSI income limit of $733/mo. is the same as the maximum SSI benefit amount, so if your retirement benefit surpasses the SSI income limit, you’re not really losing income, just changing income sources.
Check out our free guide to disability after retirement, which goes into more detail about how early retirement affects disability benefits, widow(er)’s benefits, and qualifying criteria!