How Long Do Social Security Disability Benefits Last?

disability benefits

It’s no secret that it is difficult to win Social Security Insurance benefits Disability benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”).

The eligibility requirements alone can prevent you from qualifying for SSDI.

In many cases, however, the Social Security Disability Administration’s (“SSA”) strict definition of “disability” that prevents disabled individuals from qualifying for benefits.

At other times, it can be a lack of medical records or the confusing and complicated application process that causes a denial of benefits.

Approximately 65% of all first-time applications are denied by the SSA.

So, if you are awarded SSDI benefits, chances are either you had a Florida disability lawyer on your side, or it was a hard won battle —or both.

But with disability benefits, the battle doesn’t always end with the award of benefits.

That is because disability benefits can be hard to win and hard to hang onto.

So, if you were awarded disability benefits, how long will they last?

The answer is…

It depends.

That is because there are several situations that could cause your disability benefits to end or to be terminated by the SSA.

Generally speaking, as long as you have a disability (as the SSA defines that term) that continues to prevent you from being able to engage in gainful employment, your benefits should continue.

That said, SSDI benefits do not last indefinitely and there are certain situations that will cause them to end.

You Are No Longer Disabled

For example, you should be aware that the SSA conducts disability reviews on a regular basis. The purpose of these continuing disability reviews (CDRs) is to ascertain whether an individual’s disability (injury/illness or other qualified disability) is continuing or has been resolved.

If the SSA determines that your medical condition has improved to the point where you are no longer considered “disabled” (by their definition of that word), then your benefits may be discontinued.


Another circumstance that could cause your disability benefits to end is incarceration.

If you are imprisoned for more than 30 days, your disability benefits will end. You will not be paid SSDI benefits while in jail. Also, although it may be possible to reinstate your benefits after being released from prison, there is no guarantee that your benefits will indeed be reinstated.

You Can Engage in Substantial Gainful Activity

Even if you continue to be disabled, if your condition improves to the extent that you can engage in what the SSA calls “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), your disability benefits could end.

Substantial gainful activity is just one factor that the SSA uses to determine whether a person is disabled.

In order to be considered “disabled” according to the SSA, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. What this means (with regard to this single factor only) is that an individual will be considered disabled and entitled to benefits if he (or she) cannot engage in work that earns him a certain monthly income.

What that monthly income number is, depends on whether the individual is blind and disabled or not blind and disabled.  And it also depends on what year it is, because the number changes each year.

As of the writing of this post, in 2023, the monthly income level for non-blind and disabled is $1,470.00.

In sum, then, if you can engage in work that earns you (in 2023) a monthly income of $1,470.00, then you will be considered able to engage in SGA and hence not disabled enough to be entitled to SSDI.

You Reach Age 65.

Another circumstance that can change your entitlement to SSDI is your age.

Generally, you are entitled to SSDI for so long as you continue to be disabled, or until you reach the age of 65.

When you turn 65, you no longer will receive SSDI. Instead, you will begin to receive Social Security Retirement benefits. Once you begin receiving Social Security Retirement benefits, the SSDI rules will no longer apply to you.

Also, it is worth noting that whether you start to receive retirement benefits at 65 precisely depends on when you were born. If you were born before 1937, then your SSDI benefits will change over to retirement benefits when you reach 65. If you were born in any other year, however, you may have to wait longer to receive retirement benefits.

Understanding the rules is one reason why it is always important to speak with a disability lawyer near you.

Helping the Disabled in Florida.

John Fagan and his legal team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another, or disabled. Contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.

There’s Never a Fee Unless We Get Money For You

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