Disabled workers and their families have long had an ally in Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Because they are temporarily or permanently unable to work due to a medical ailment or condition, they get the much-needed benefits.
However, these benefits are not permanent. SSD benefits last for a certain length of time and usually end when a disabled worker reaches full retirement age. However, other reasons exist, too.
Full retirement age and a return to work
Here are the top three reasons why disabled workers had their SSD benefits terminated in 2020:
- The worker reached full retirement age: Nearly 544,000 or 61% of disabled workers had their benefits end when they reached full retirement age, which was 66 in 2020. When this happens, the disabled worker’s SSD benefits convert to retired worker benefits.
- Death of the benefit recipient: More than 286,000 disabled workers or 30% died before reaching full retirement age. When this occurs, eligible dependents may secure survivor benefits.
- No longer meets medical standards: Nearly 78,000 disabled workers or 9% met these criteria. Close to 50,000 (64%) of such recipients saw their benefits end because they returned to work. More than 19,000 workers or 25% within this group saw medical improvements. Finally, 10% no longer cooperated with the government and saw their benefits end.
Many disabled workers want to get to work and earn a living. But, in the meantime, those SSD benefits prove to be important by helping them and their families.
Whether it is reaching full retirement age or having an improved medical condition, some disabled workers see their SSD benefits end. This is typical and represents just some of the reasons the government stops those payments.