Do SSI Benefits Convert to Social Security Retirement Benefits?
Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments do not automatically convert to Social Security Retirement benefits upon reaching retirement age. As we have discussed in prior blog posts, SSI is funded by general federal taxes while SSDI and Retirement are funded by payroll taxes.
Unfortunately, not only do SSI payments not automatically convert to retirement payments, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) can essentially force you to apply for early retirement benefits at 62, instead of waiting for your full retirement age. This can happen if you did not qualify for SSDI benefits, but you did work enough years to qualify for a small retirement benefit.
One of the requirements of continuing to receive SSI benefits is that you apply for any other cash benefits that are available, including retirement benefits.
However, the good news is that you will be able to receive both retirement and SSI at the same time, so your overall monthly benefit amount will not decrease. If you are currently receiving the maximum SSI amount of $735 per month and begin to receive $500 in early retirement benefits, you will still receive $735 per month: $500 will be retirement benefits, and $235 will be SSI benefits.
Further, if someone is receiving SSI benefits and does not qualify for retirement benefits through SSA, at age 65 their benefits will automatically convert from disability to “aged” benefits. Once again, the benefit amount will not change.