Earning Income While Collecting Social Security Disability

Most people associate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) with being unable to work because of medical issues, but what some people may not know is that you can work and earn money while you collect benefits. There are some limits on the type of work you are doing and, most importantly, the amount of money you can earn. Knowing in advance what you can look forward to in terms of income is important, so if you are applying for Social Security Disability, here is more information about earning money while collecting benefits.

Why Limit Income?

The reason SSDI was created was to assist workers who cannot work with monthly monetary payments. The Social Security Administration (SSD) rightfully reason that if you are able to work and earn money, you don't need the benefits that SSDI provides. That being said, the amount paid to workers who do qualify for the program is not meant to replace the salary from any previous jobs. Additionally, the application process for SSDI can be extremely lengthy, and most people need to earn some money while waiting for approval. You can earn money and still qualify for benefits and keep your benefits after approval, however, if you stay under what the SSA calls Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

Substantial Gainful Activity

The SSA limits the amount you can earn during the application process and after you are receiving benefits to $1,090 a month ($1,820 for the blind). If you go over that amount, the SSA will determine that you are earning SGA, which will disqualify you for benefits. The SGA amount can change every year, since it's based on the average cost of living.

The SSA not only looks at the amount of money you earn, but how you have earned that money. Remember, you can only receive benefits if you cannot work at your job because of a medical condition. If you can do the same work, even if you are not earning the same amount of money, the SSA may determine that you no longer need benefits. On the other hand, if you can find a job that keeps your earnings under $1,090 a month doing other, perhaps more sedentary work, you may be able to both work and get benefits.

Trial Work Period

For those who want to test their ability to work at their same job, or any other job again, the SSA offers the trial work period program. You must stay under $770 in earnings, and you can only participate in the program for a rolling 9 month period. Your monthly benefit amount will be unaffected by your participation in the trial work period.

If you have been turned down for benefits contact a Social Security attorney like Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law for help and support with your appeal.