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Social Security Disability: What Makes Your Benefits Stop?

Social Security helps millions of retirees, but the program provides more than just retirement benefits. Social Security disability payments also help many workers who have lost the ability to earn income for themselves by working, and it's important to know how those benefits work and what can make them stop.

In this installment of our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Ronald, who currently gets disability benefits and wants to know when those benefits will end and turn into regular retirement benefits.

Dan notes that disability can happen at any age and goes through some of the requirements for Social Security disability coverage, including the previous work requirements and the need for a long-term disability that keeps you from working. Dan then points out that disability benefits can end if you're able to go back to work on a regular basis, but if you reach retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits. Dan answers the biggest concern that many people have about their benefits, noting that even if your work history would ordinarily lead to a much lower retirement benefit, you'll still receive what you got on disability.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2014, at 5:40 PM, tjills13 wrote:

    I am trying to get SSDI I was born with a disability and have tried to make the best of my 50 years I cannot type with both hands which makes any job difficult and standing for long periods or sitting for long periods are getting difficult, if I get turned down I don't know what else to do

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2014, at 8:06 PM, sidewayscindy wrote:

    hi yes my husband was in a bad car accident about

    10 min's from his job site on june 30, 2011 he had

    been receiving his social security sense 2010 because he was 66 the problem I have is after his accident he was air-lifted to the county trauma center with severe spinal damage and also head

    trauma. he was able to collect a disability from his

    employer that he had paid extra money's for out of

    his payroll checks, and that was 2,800 per month

    BUT that ended on September 28,2013. now we only live on his s.s. in the amount of 1,883 per month big drop in tying to make it in this world today when I contacted the social security regarding LTD they told me he is getting all he is intitle to receive one thing that does not add up is on his yearly social statement it states in bold letters that he has far and beyond the credits needed in case of such emerg. for over 1 year I tried to get some answer's but I was never told the same answer then I started doing some research on my own and found that his file with s.s. had been archived in 2011. once again tried to get some answers on that but as of today June 28,2014 I have nothing I even tried connecting my local congressman and this needs to go down in the books BIG JOKE and that is all I well say thanks for reading I hope some day some-one with a little back-bone will step up and pay my husband what he is intitle to. sidewayscindy

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2014, at 11:35 PM, lcr1946 wrote:

    For all the conservatives' complaints about Social Security Disability, it actually leaves a number of people with disabilities uncovered.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 3:40 PM, BarbieM1 wrote:

    I lost my SSI and SSD May 2014. I have been on SSI and SSD since 1994 because I have a congenital heart defect and that make it hard for me to stand for long periods of time,plus I can't lift more than 50lbs. I would love to work but I cannot find a job that is compatible to my physical needs. My doctors told the Social Security that I was "healthy" enough to work! I have worked time to time part-time but always a job that requires standing for 4 to 8 hours and lifting. How can I get my SSI and SSD back???

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 6:22 PM, clchapman wrote:

    If a person does not have the required work hours they may and usually are eligible for Medicaid and SSI which can still be as much as a 1000.00 a month plus Medicaid benefits

    I became disabled at 61 I was planning to retire at 62 so had put in for reduced benefits. I then changed my mind and decided to keep working when the disability caught me

    SS started sending me a disability at age 61 after I turned 62 it went up 500.00 a month

    My understanding from SS when I started my disability is that I would draw as much as if I had retired at 66 1/2 which is my normal date

    At the time I believed them latter found out it is near impossible to actually get the truth

    Now they have no idea why it was so much different but I am entitled to the amount I am being payed

    I was told that it will increase again at 66 1/2 . I don't know .

    What you do have to keep in mind is after two years of disability you automatically go on medicare and have the option to look at a supplement which I tell everyone to get the supplement do not just pay the medicare

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 6:52 PM, clchapman wrote:

    I cannot believe I was so gullible that I listened to this speech and how boring and telling nothing just to find out you want me to spend 80.00

    to find out the info that may cost me 1000.00's of dollars to invest in the first place

    It looks like the Motley Fool has started using the same cheap tricks that other money marketing/telemarketers are using

    You can bet I will not click on another one of the links You got me once that is enough

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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