In order for you to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must be unable to accomplish what is known as “substantial gainful activity (SGA),” which basically means doing any work that allows you to earn more than $1,260 per month (2020), or $2,110 if you’re blind.
Are There Exceptions?
For those receiving SSDI, there is one exception to the gainful activity rule: a trial work period. Trial work periods can allow you to test out whether returning to work is feasibly possible, and in this time you can earn more than the SGA limit without fear of having benefits taken away. Trial work periods can commence when you begin making more than $910 per month (or working more than 80 hours in a single month if you’re self employed), and will last for nine months.
Once that nine months is up, you will also be able to take advantage of what’s known as an extended period of eligibility, in which you will have an additional 36 months to collect benefits should at any time your income drop below the SGA minimum. Once a work period has ended the SSA will determine if your income was substantial enough to cease benefits, after which point you will have five years to reinstate should you once again be unable to maintain expected employment performance standards. This process is known as “expedited reinstatement,” and will not require the resubmission of a new application.
Working & Collecting SSI
While it is possible to work while receiving benefits, so long as the SSA’s income limit is not exceeded, it is important to know that your benefits will be affected to compensate for your additional countable income. Typically this means, after an $85 adjustment is automatically deducted from your income, you will receive only 50 cents for every dollar earned. For example, if you make $900 per month from a job, $85 is automatically saved, making $815. Then, that figure is divided in half to arrive at the number that will be deducted from your total benefits amount – in this case $407.50.
If you have specific “impairment-related work expenses (IRWE),” such as unique transportation needs or therapy services, these costs can also be deducted from your monthly earnings as well.
Applying For Benefits While Working
It’s important to remember that although you’re legally allowed to still work while applying for benefits, it isn’t always the best idea. Even if you’re currently making below the SGA limit, working too much can have a negative impact on a judge’s decision to approve your disability claim.
What Do You Do Now?
If you’re ready to begin your disability claim, and you have specific questions about your employment, or ability to get a job once you’re receiving benefits, do not hesitate to contact our caring Social Security disability attorneys at Aiello Law Group today! Call us, today, at 313.964.4900 or fill out the form in the sidebar or on our contact page, and learn more about how we can help you.