The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees three major benefit programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the retirement benefits program most people refer to simply as “Social Security.” For clarity, let’s call that the Retirement program (SSR).

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, will the amount you receive each month change when you reach your full retirement age? At The Law Office of Daniel Berger, we want you to be fully informed about the SSD payments you depend on.

Most SSD Benefit Recipients Will See No Change When They Reach Age 66.

Most people who receive SSD benefit payments before reaching retirement age will see the amount of their monthly payment remain the same when they switch over to SSR retirement benefits.

There is a good reason for the payments remaining the same; both programs use the same formula to determine the amount of your benefit payment. Both SSD and SSR are based on your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). That’s the average monthly amount you earned over your thirty-five highest earning years. That figure is put through another more complicated equation (discussed below) to find your benefit level for both SSD and your full retirement SSR payment.

Whose SSD Payment Will Change? People Who Filed for Soc. Sec. Retirement Early.

Unfortunately, there is a smaller group of disability recipients who will see a disappointing reduction in their monthly benefit amount when they go from SSD to full retirement SSR benefits.

If you filed for your Social Security Retirement (SSR) benefits at age 62, or before your full retirement age, then you are going to receive a lower monthly amount in SSR payments than you would have if you waited until your full retirement age. Those who file for SSR at age 62 permanently receive 29.2% less in retirement benefit payments than their full retirement benefit amount.

But, if you filed for SSR at age 62 and then suffered a qualifying disability and filed for SSD benefits, your SSD benefits would be equal to your full retirement benefit amount. Remember, the Social Security Administration uses the same formula to figure your SSD benefit payment amount as it uses to determine your full retirement benefit amount.

So, if you started to receive your SSR benefits at age 62, and then filed for SSD benefits, you would see a boost in your monthly benefits until you reach your full retirement age. When you finally do reach your full retirement age, you would again receive only your Social Security Retirement benefits which were set lower because you filed for those benefits before you reached the age set for your full retirement.

What Is Your Full Retirement Age?

The Social Security Administration implemented changes to the Social Security Retirement program because the population trends in the United States indicated that the Social Security Trust Fund would be depleted unless they altered the age-eligibility requirements.

Previously, and still, for those born in 1937 or earlier, the full retirement age for everyone was 65 years old. The new rules provide for a gradually increasing full retirement age depending on the year you were born.

You can find your full retirement age by looking in this table:

1937 and earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
1943 – 195466
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months

What Equation Is Used to Determine My SSD and Retirement Benefit Amount?

As we mentioned above, the Social Security Administration bases your benefit amount on the same formula to determine your SSD and your full Social Security Retirement benefit amount.

Your highest thirty-five years of income are used to get your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). Then the government applies the following equation:

  • 90% of the first $996 of your AIME,
  • plus 32% of your AIME from $996 to $6,002,
  • plus 15% of your AIME over $6,002.

This figure arrived at after these calculations are your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), the amount you will receive if you file for retirement at your full retirement age, or file for SSD benefits at an earlier age.

The Law Office of Daniel Berger Will Get You the Maximum Benefit Possible!

In this article, we outlined only one or two of the many complex rules and regulations that can affect your application for SSD benefits or SSI benefits. You need to rely on the expertise of an experienced SSD and SSI lawyer who specializes in disability cases.

Don’t try to figure out your legal qualifications without professional help. Only with a seasoned Social Security Disability lawyer can you be sure you’re getting every cent you are eligible for.