How Much Can I Earn While Collecting Social Security Disability SSDI, and Not Lose My Benefits? Santa Ana Lawyers
Many people use the term “Social Security” to refer to both “Social Security Disability Benefits” (SSD or SSDI) and/or “Supplemental Security Income” (SSI). The Social Security Administration administers both of these programs.
The Social Security Disability Program (SSD or SSDI), however, pays benefits to disabled workers who have paid Social Security taxes over a sufficiently long period of time, and the benefits amount is based on the worker’s earnings record. The Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) pays monthly benefits to people with low/limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older.
This article is about Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD or SSDI).
To read about Earning & Income Limits for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) CLICK HERE.
Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is only available to people who can no longer work due to an established disability AND have paid taxes into the Social Security system. If approved for benefits, the monthly SSDI payment amount will be determined by their earnings records. Currently, the average Social Security Disability benefit is $1,165. (2015).
Social Security SSDI Income / Earning Limits Santa Ana Lawyer
There is a limit on the amount of money that you can earn through work when you receive Social Security Disability benefits. The reason behind this is simple: if you can earn an income, you aren’t considered disabled anymore!
However – unlike the SSI benefits for low income people – the SSDI program does NOT put any limit on the amount of assets or unearned income you have. Similarly, SSD does not look at your spouse’s income when determining your Social Security Disability benefits.
In other words, while a disabled (non-blind) person applying for or receiving SSDI cannot earn more than $1,090 per month by working, a person collecting SSDI can have any amount of income from investments, interest, or a spouse’s income.
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Lawyers
Remember, if you can engage in what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), you won’t be eligible for SSD benefits.
Federal regulations use a figure called the “national average wage index” to determine the income limit for the SGA each year.
In 2015 these limits are:
• $1,090 for disabled applicants;
• $1,820 for blind applicants.
Note that the rules differ somewhat for business owners, since their monthly income may not accurately reflect the work effort they put into their business.
Trial Work Period for Social Security Disability Santa Ana Lawyer
Sometimes a person receiving SSDI may start to improve and want to try returning to the workforce – but they may be afraid that they will be unable to keep a job because of their disabilities. The SSA – in order to try and encourage disabled people to try to return to work – allows a “trial work period”. During this period, a person receiving SSDI may have unlimited earnings during a limited period and still receive full benefits without risking termination of SSD benefits.
The trial work period allows the person to provide services for at least nine months – out of a rolling 60-month period – before their disability benefits will be terminated. Then, disability benefits will continue for three months and then stop.
Any month in which the trial work period earnings exceed $780 is considered a month of providing services. (Note that this amount is different than the SGA amount.) However, benefits can resume within the next 36 months if the individual fails to earn the monthly SGA amount or becomes unable to work again due to the same disability.
Calculating “trial work periods” can be complicated and confusing. Our lawyers can help you with this calculation if you are collecting SSDI and considering returning to work.