Disability benefits provide important financial support to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability or medical condition. These benefits can be a lifeline for many, but they are not always guaranteed to continue indefinitely.
There are various reasons why disability benefits may come to an end, and beneficiaries must understand these factors to navigate the system effectively.
Earning substantial income
Another reason disability benefits may cease is if the recipient starts earning a substantial income through work. Social Security Disability Insurance recipients can work to some extent, but if earnings exceed a certain threshold (known as the substantial gainful activity level), the SSA may discontinue their benefits.
Disability benefits may stop when there is evidence of medical improvement in the recipient’s condition. The Social Security Administration periodically reviews cases to determine if there has been a significant improvement in the individual’s health that allows them to return to work. If the recipient’s condition has improved to the point where they can engage in substantial gainful activity, their benefits may end.
Failure to comply with medical treatment
Continued receipt of disability benefits may also hinge on the recipient’s commitment to following prescribed medical treatment. If the individual is not actively seeking or following recommended treatment plans, their benefits could be at risk. The rationale behind this requirement is to encourage recipients to actively manage their health conditions.
Reaching retirement age
When a recipient of disability benefits reaches their full retirement age, their disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits. This transition is not a cessation of benefits but rather a change in the classification of the benefits received.
Failing to report changes
It is important for disability beneficiaries to promptly report any changes in their circumstances to the SSA. Failing to do so can lead to benefit overpayments and potential termination. You must report changes in employment, marital status and living arrangements to the SSA immediately.
According to the SSA, 9,243,999 Americans received disability benefits in 2021. To ensure these individuals continue receiving important funds, they must follow the rules established by the SSA.