Social Security disability implications for retirement

by Oct 8, 2014

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Social Security may feel like a maze at times, but armed with the proper knowledge, applicants for disability benefits may feel less intimidated by the process and achieve a more successful outcome. Social Security is often thought of as a retirement program, however, 88 million Americans receive Social Security disability benefits. Some individuals may wonder what will happen to their Social Security disability benefits once they reach retirement age. Some disability recipients may worry that they do not have the necessary work history to continue receiving Social Security income, including retirement income. However, Social Security benefits for those receiving disability is not calculated the same way it is calculated for those traditionally entering retirement.

In general, Social Security disability benefits are calculated by looking at the average lifetime earnings of the applicant before disability occurred. The length of work history that is considered for disability recipients entering retirement is different than those who are not disabled because Social Security takes income potential due to disability into account when making its calculation and determination of benefits.

In essence, disability benefits are converted to retirement benefits and the amount remains the same. This may come as a welcome relief to many individuals currently receiving disability or considering applying for Social Security disability benefits. As can often be true of Social Security, there are special considerations for those on disability who are applying for early retirement so, as always, it is important to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the application process and requirements.

The Social Security application process may sometimes seem complicated, confusing and overwhelming. By thoroughly understanding Social Security and the process to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the process may, however, be simpler and more successful.

Source:, “Social Security Disability: What Happens When You Turn 66?,” August 16, 2014

Source:, “Social Security Disability: What Happens When You Turn 66?,” August 16, 2014