Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available for those who cannot work because of a medical condition. If you’re receiving SSDI and start working, it can affect your benefits. If you earn over a certain amount per month, you can lose your benefits.
How Does Working Affect SSDI Benefits?
You cannot qualify for SSDI if you’re engaging in “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA. According to Social Security’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS), SGA means performing significant physical or mental work activities for money.
In 2020, someone is performing SGA if they earn at least $1,260 per month. For those who are blind, the limit is $2,110 per month. If you start making enough for SGA, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could stop your benefits.
There is one exception. You can start a trial work period where you still get benefits while earning an income.
What Is the SSA Trial Work Period?
The SSA provides resources for working while disabled. Social Security provides a Ticket to Work program and work incentives if you want to try working. If you are unable to continue working, you can keep receiving SSDI benefits.
You can get work incentives like:
- Medicare or Medicaid benefits
- Cash benefits
- Training, education, and rehabilitation assistance
The Ticket to Work program also provides training, job referrals, and other work support.
Trial Work Period
During the trial work period, you can try working for at least nine months. Any month where you earn over $910 (as of 2020) is a trial work month. If you’re self-employed, it’s a trial work month if you make over $910 before business expenses or work over 80 hours.
During the trial period, you can still receive your full SSDI benefits. However, you can only do this if you are still disabled and report your work to the SSA. You can stay in the trial work period for nine months within 60 months.
Reinstating Benefits While Working
For 36 months after the trial work period, you can still get SSDI benefits for any month you don’t earn SGA. If you do make SGA, you won’t get benefits for that month.
You do not have to re-apply for benefits during the 36-month post-trial period. If the SSA stops your benefits because you earn SGA, you have five years to ask the SSA to restart your SSDI. You will not have to file a new application unless the five-year period is up.
If you’re still disabled after your SSDI stops (due to your earnings), your Medicare will continue for at least 93 months after the trial work period. Once that time is over, you can pay a monthly premium for Medicare coverage.
Can I Start a Trial Work Period at Any Time?
You must immediately let the SSA know if you start working again. A change in your work status can impact your benefits. The SSA should help you with any questions about your trial work period.
Report to the SSA if:
- You start or stop working a job.
- You have any changes in your pay, work hours, or work duties.
- You have work-related costs because of your disability.
You’ll also need to report your monthly earnings to the SSA. You can do this online, through an app, by phone, by mail, or at a Social Security office.
If you have issues still receiving benefits while working, contact a Social Security Disability lawyer. Your lawyer can ensure you still get the benefits you deserve.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping those on SSDI for over 20 years. Contact us today for a FREE consultation. Call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.
Can I Deduct Work Expenses While on SSDI?
Because of your disability, you might have work-related costs, such as specialized transportation or counseling. When determining if you’re eligible for continuing benefits, the SSA should deduct these expenses from your monthly earnings.
Is It Okay to Work While Applying for SSDI?
If you’re working when you apply for benefits, it could impact how the SSA views your claim. Social Security Disability lawyers often advise against working while your application is pending. If you are earning more than the SGA amount when you apply, the SSA will deny your claim.
Part-time jobs can equal less than the monthly amount for SGA. (Again, this amount is $1,260 per month for 2020). You technically can still qualify for SSDI if you’re earning a little bit of income. However, if you are working many hours per week at your job, the SSA might not consider you disabled.
If the SSA sees that you can perform regular work weekly, it might assume you are not disabled enough to earn income. The SSA might also conclude that you can perform other types of work and don’t need benefits.
Working After Approval for SSDI
It makes more sense to begin working after the SSA has already approved you for SSDI. You can enter a trial work period while still receiving benefits. If you find that you cannot continue working, you will still have access to SSDI.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
The application process for SSDI is tricky for many people. For some, the SSA rules might seem arbitrary or unfair. It’s generally best to consult with a Social Security Disability lawyer if you’re feeling unsure.
John Foy & Associates can help. We know what it takes for the SSA to approve a claim. We can also help you navigate working while on SSDI. Plus, we will not charge you a fee unless we win your case.
To get a FREE, no-risk consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.