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Will my Social Security disability benefits change when I reach retirement age?

Probably not. Whatever your age when you claim Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security sets your benefit as though you had reached full retirement age. Full retirement age, or FRA, is the point at which you qualify for 100 percent of the benefit Social Security calculates from your lifetime earnings.

At full retirement age — which is 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957, two months later for those born in 1958, and is gradually rising to 67 over the next several years — your SSDI payment converts to a retirement benefit. For most beneficiaries, the amount remains the same. The same goes for any benefits paid to a spouse on your record: They switch from being based on your disabled status to being tied to your retiree status. 

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An exception is if, along with SSDI, you are receiving workers’ compensation, or a “public disability benefit” from a government job at which you did not pay Social Security taxes. These additional benefits can reduce your SSDI payment. The reduction ends when you hit full retirement age, so your Social Security benefit would increase at that time. 

Keep in mind

Your Social Security disability payment is based on your full retirement age, but a spousal benefit paid to your husband or wife on your record is not. If your spouse takes the benefit before his or her FRA, it is permanently reduced.

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