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Most people’s SSDI benefits will end. When will yours?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2024 | Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) |

You may feel a tremendous sense of relief after being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after a disabling injury or illness has made it impossible to continue to work. That’s particularly true if the approval process was a long one – as it often is.

It’s crucial to remember, however, that in many cases, these benefits aren’t intended to last for the rest of your life or even until you reach retirement age. Unless you have a condition that’s not expected to substantially improve (according to your doctors), you’ll need to be prepared for regular reviews and eventually for your benefits to end.

Understanding “substantial gainful activity”

For example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will stop paying benefits if your condition improves enough that you can engage in what’s called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). That’s based on minimum monthly income, which is $1,550 ($2,590 for those who are blind) in 2024.

If you get a job that pays you that much, it’s your responsibility to notify the SSA – not to wait until they next contact you. That’s how people end up having to repay benefits they’ve already received. The same is true if they intentionally take a job that pays less than the SGA minimum so they can continue receiving benefits.

What happens if you reach “full retirement age”

Full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which you can get 100% of the Social Security retirement benefits to which you’re entitled. That age is based on what year you were born. For most people in the workforce today, it’s 67. 

If you’re receiving SSDI benefits when you hit your FRA, your SSDI benefits will transition to retirement benefits. The amount is typically the same, so it shouldn’t affect your budget.

As you’ve likely learned by now, the SSA is a massive, unwieldy bureaucracy that can test anyone’s patience. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can or should assume they don’t keep up with the millions of Americans receiving SSDI and other benefits. If you have questions or concerns about any communications you’ve received regarding your SSDI benefits and requests for information or discussion of ending your benefits, it can help to get legal guidance to better understand and protect your rights.