Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are a crucial social safety net for working individuals. Those who develop disabling medical conditions and who can no longer work may qualify for SSDI benefits.
The application process is often stressful and lengthy, as many people need to appeal an initial application denial before they ultimately receive benefits. Even those who qualify can typically only count on receiving SSDI payments for a specific amount of time. Benefits can end even when someone still has medical challenges.
How long do SSDI benefits typically last after someone qualifies?
Until they improve or can return to work
As a general rule, the Social Security Administration (SSA) only approves SSDI applications for those who have conditions that should last for a year or longer. They also need to have such serious symptoms that they cannot maintain any type of gainful employment.
Many applicants have permanent, progressive or terminal medical conditions. Others may eventually improve. When someone can resume gainful employment or recovers from their disabling medical condition, they typically lose their eligibility for ongoing SSDI benefits. Recipients must report changes in their condition or employment status to the SSA.
Until they qualify for retirement benefits
The contributions people make toward Social Security fund both disability benefit programs and retirement benefits. When someone reaches the current retirement age in force by the SSA, which is currently 67 years of age, they may cease receiving SSDI benefits. At that time, the SSA should automatically convert their benefits to retirement benefits. They usually won’t experience an interruption in coverage and do not need to submit paperwork to switch the kind of benefits they receive.
Until an applicant dies
Those with severe health issues, such as cancer, might die before they reach retirement age because of their health challenges. SSDI benefits typically terminate after someone’s death. In cases, surviving spouses and dependent children may be eligible for survivor’s benefits, which can be monthly payments or a lump-sum award.
Those who may require SSDI to cover their basic living expenses need to know how long their benefits are likely to last. Understanding the rules that apply to SSDI benefits may help people see the value in applying and understand why they may need help to get the benefits they need for as long as they need them.