You can only receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA determines how much you can earn and still be eligible for SSDI.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), SGA means making more than $1,260 per month in 2020. (If you are blind, the limit is $2,110 per month.) The SGA limit depends on each year’s national average wage index, so the exact amount usually increases per year.
If you are earning more than the SGA while on SSDI, you can lose your benefits. However, there are exceptions if you decide to try going back to work.
Can I Earn Money While Receiving SSDI?
If you are making less than SGA, you might be able to earn money while on SSDI. But it’s essential to observe your earnings.
You must immediately tell Social Security if:
- You start or stop working.
- Your work hours, duties, or pay change.
- You start paying for work-related costs because of your disability.
If you have job-related expenses because of your disability, you can probably deduct those costs from your monthly income. Expenses could include specialized equipment, transportation, or counseling.
If you have high expenses, you might earn over $1,260 per month and still qualify for benefits. Just be sure to report any changes to the SSA right away.
If you start earning above SGA while on SSDI, you could lose your benefits. Talk to a Social Security Disability lawyer about your options if you’re concerned. To get a FREE consultation with John Foy & Associates, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
Can I Apply for SSDI Benefits While I’m Working?
You might be able to get SSDI benefits if you’re already working. However, the fact that you’re working at all could hurt your chances.
Review your most recent paychecks carefully. You will certainly need to earn less than $1,260 per month for 2020. Even if you earn less than that amount, the claims examiner might doubt that you’re truly disabled, especially if you are working over 15-20 hours per week.
Social Security Disability lawyers will often advise not working when applying for SSDI benefits. Besides not earning SGA, you must also meet the following criteria for benefits:
- Have a condition that the SSA recognizes as disabling
- Have a disability that has lasted (or is expected to last) for at least a year
- Be unable to do any work you used to do or perform new work
- Have paid enough work credits into Social Security through your past wages
Your condition must prevent you from doing necessary actions like walking, lifting things, or remembering. The SSA has a detailed process it will use to evaluate your application.
What if I Want to Return to Work While on SSDI?
While receiving SSDI benefits, you might want to try returning to work. The SSA offers a trial work period for those who want to try working while disabled.
The trial work period lets you test out working for at least nine months. Here’s how it works:
- A trial work month is any month you earn over $910 in 2020. (The income limit can change each year.)
- If you are self-employed, it’s a trial work month if you earn over $910 minus business expenses or work over 80 hours.
- During the trial work period, you’ll get your full SSDI benefits.
- The trial period will continue until you’ve worked nine trial months within 60 months.
The months do not have to be back-to-back. It only matters how many months you earn over the limit within 60 months.
What Are My Options After the Trial Work Period?
After you’ve completed nine trial work periods, the SSA will look over your income history. If you made over the SGA limit during the trial period, your benefits would probably stop. If you did not make SGA during the trial, your benefits would likely continue.
If your benefits continue and you’re still working, you can start an extended eligibility period. During the next 36 months, you can still receive benefits for any month you earn less than the SGA limit.
You also have an option for expedited reinstatement. If you become unable to work again because of your disability, you can request benefits back. You have five years after your benefits end to have your benefits reinstated. You will not have to start a new application during this time.
Social Security Ticket to Work Program Benefits
If you try working while on SSDI, you can get benefits through the SSA Ticket to Work program. Benefits include:
- Medicare or Medicaid while you’re working
- Education, training, and rehabilitation
- Job referrals
- Other support for your employment
If you are concerned about trying to earn money while on SSDI, talk to an SSDI lawyer. Your lawyer can help if you’re worried about losing benefits. You have the right to try earning an income while living with your disability.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping disabled individuals for over 20 years. We can assist you with any part of your SSDI application. If you have questions about working while on SSDI, contact us today.
Working with us is risk-free for you. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Plus, the consultation is always 100% FREE.
To schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.