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What happens to my Social Security if I go on disability?

Workers who become disabled and are unable to reenter the workforce, and their families, may be eligible for disability benefits. What is the process?

US financial news | Summary news 15 October
Hyungwon KangREUTERS

While there are major issues that plague the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program in the United States, modest support is available to some workers who qualify.

The SSDI program began making payments in 1956, and currently, more than 8.7 million disabled workers and 1.2 million family members depend on these benefits. In January 2023, the average monthly payment was $1,483.11 or $17,869 a year.

Eligibility to receive SSDI benefits is strict, and in most cases, “beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired in the country.” Comparing the average SSDI beneficiary and an average worker of the same age, the former is “more than three times as likely to die in a year.”

Read more from AS USA:

SSDI and Social Security: Can a person receive both?

When a beneficiary receiving SSDI benefits reaches their full retirement age, the SSA automatically “convert[s] them to retirement benefits, and “the amount remains the same.” The average benefit for Social Secuirty is $1,779.16, meaning that becoming disabled can leave individuals with lower incomes for the rest of their life.

What about those receiving survivor benefits?

The situation is slightly different for widows and widowers who receive a spouse’s survivor benefits. These individuals must contact the SSA when they reach their full retirement age so that any adjustments can be made to their benefit amount.


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