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Disability benefits how long will they last?

Workers who have worked and paid into the Social Security Disability system may qualify for SSDI benefits if they become disabled with a severe debilitating health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “If I am receiving disability benefits how long will my benefits last?”

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Disability benefits and a long-term health condition


If you are receiving SSDI benefits you are no doubt depending on your monthly payments to sustain you financially and to pay for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. But how long can you expect to receive benefits? Do they run out or do you reach a maximum payout amount? Do you only get as much as you have paid into the system?

If you are receiving disability benefits you can expect to receive payments until any of the following occurs:

Condition improves can I go back to work?


The Social Security Administration offers SSDI benefits for conditions which are long-term, which means they are expected to last at least 12 continuous months. Some claimants who receive SSDI benefits will have a permanent condition, while other claimant’s conditions may improve over time.

If your condition improves the SSA expects that you will return to work and will no longer need SSDI benefits. The good news is the SSA offers programs which will allow you to test your ability to work while you continue to receive SSDI benefits for a specific amount of time.

If you are receiving SSDI benefits and think you can return, contact the SSA and discuss what you will need to do.

You reach your full retirement age


If you are getting disability benefits and you reach your full retirement age your disability benefits will be converted to retirement benefits. You will NOT receive both retirement and disability benefits at the same time.

The SSA considers you NOT disabled


The SSA may also stop your disability payments if they believe you are no longer disabled. This can done after the SSA completes a continuing disability review (CDR) and determines your condition has improved and you can return to work.

Continuing disability reviews will be performed every 3 or 7 years, depending on how likely your condition is to improve. If your condition is likely to improve, the SSA could perform a review in less than 3 years.

If you are receiving SSI benefits as a child the SSA will automatically review your claim when you turn 18 years of age. Your condition will be evaluated as if you were an adult, and you will have to meet the adult standards.

Other events can trigger a continuing disability review prior to the three or seven year mark including work activity, third party reporting that you are not disabled, or the introduction of new treatment options.
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