The reasons Social Security Disability benefits end

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Social Security Disability |

Anyone who receives Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits must realize that in certain situations, these government payments are not permanent. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can stop providing these payments under specific circumstances.

As a matter of fact, the SSA in 2019 – the most recent year such statistics were available – no longer issued these crucial benefit payments to nearly 871,000 disabled workers. What was behind the government’s decision? There were valid reasons, including the disabled worker reaching full retirement age, recovering, returning to work, and, sadly, dying.

Reached full retirement age, recovered

Although the number of workers who had their SSD benefits terminated in 2019 declined from the previous year by 0.7%, that amount remained high. In the more than 60 years that such SSA statistics existed, only 2018 and 2019 had more than 870,000 workers terminated from receiving SSD benefits.

The main reasons why disabled workers were deemed no longer eligible for SSD benefits in 2019 were:

  • Worker reached full retirement age: Nearly 521,000 or 60%. Anyone who turned the age of 66 that year reached full-retirement age. When this occurs, a disabled worker’s SSD benefits automatically transform into retired worker benefits.
  • The death of the benefit recipient: Roughly 240,500 or nearly 28%. Many disabled workers have serious medical ailments, and more than 1 out of 4 of them who receive SSD benefits end up dying before reaching full retirement age. In such situations, eligible dependents may receive survivor benefits.
  • The person no longer meets medical standards: Nearly 105,000 (12%). The worker is no longer disabled, has recovered from the ailment or is now working. More than half of such terminations (nearly 56,000) were attributed to people who returned to work. Roughly 34% of this group experienced medical improvements, and more than 10% failed to cooperate with the SSA.

SSD benefits are crucial for many workers who experience medical and personal challenges. If your health improves and you return to work, you no longer need them. And it is important to understand, that these benefits could convert to retirement benefits.