Disability Income Limits In 2021
It is possible to both receive disability benefits and earn income at the same time, provided that you earn under a certain amount and conform to other Social Security Administration requirements. As of 2021, the maximum amount of money an individual can earn while receiving SSDI benefits is $1,310 for non-blind disabled workers.
If you dont have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI but are still disabled and low income, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income instead. SSI income limits are based on the federal benefit rate , which is currently $794 per month for individuals or $1,191 for couples. Earned income exclusions may make it easier for you to qualify for SSI.
The Ssa Giveth And The Ssa Taketh Away
Getting approved for benefits had come as such a relief. James had heard horror stories of how it takes some applicants months or even years to get approved.
He qualified for benefits because his condition is permanent. It affects his speech and fine motor skills. He says those deficits, combined with the stereotypes about people with disabilities, have left him unable to secure a full-time job despite having a masters degree in instructional technology.
If you receive SSI or SSDI, did not file taxes in 2019 and did not receive a stimulus check this year, you can still use the IRS Non-Filer Tool until Nov. 21, 2020.
So James does gig work because not working at all goes against his nature. Thats not who I am, he says.
But navigating Social Securitys work-related rules is very, very frustrating.
Disability benefits experts say discrimination, confusion regarding the rules and fear of benefits being cut at any time are all too common. And thats despite the official Social Security position that people on disability should work to their fullest potential.
An Example Of The Fers
Thus, by way of example: Hypothetical Annuitant A: A former Postal worker made $55,000.00 per year Thus, in the first year, he receives $33,000 as his FERS annuity , and in the second year, $22,000 as his FERS annuity . Rounding off the numbers to simplify, lets say that it comes to around $3,000 per month for the first year, then $2,000 per month for the subsequent years. The former Postal worker also gets SSDI approved, and the amount comes to $2,000 per month.
How does the offset work? Well, as SSDI is primary, the Postal worker would receive $2,000 from Social Security the first year, and $1,000 from his FERS annuity , and in the second and subsequent years, he would receive $2,000 from Social Security and $800.00 from FERS . If Annuitant A works at a private-sector job and makes $1,000 per month, all well and good for, that amount would not exceed the threshold for either the FERS Disability Retirement annuity nor the SSDI allowable amount. If, however, he goes out and makes $2,000 per month, or some higher amount that violates the allowable threshold for Social Security, then he will lose the SSDI benefit, and any prior offset with FERS will be recalculated to allow for the full annuity.
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Is It Legal To Work While On Disability
Yes, its even encouraged. The Social Security Administration helps disabled people find employment through work-incentive programs. How much a disabled worker is allowed to work and earn depends on several factors, and the two primary forms of assistance Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance work very differently.
The Ticket To Work Program
If you’re an SSDI recipient wanting to work but unable to perform any of your past jobs, you may be eligible for free vocational rehabilitation, schooling, or technical training through Social Security’s Ticket to Work program. Those participating in Ticket to Work will be evaluated at a vocational rehabilitation office and a plan will be developed for the individual to try to return to the workforce. As an added incentive, Social Security may not initiate a Continuing Disability Review of an individual in the Ticket to Work program.
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Consulting With A Social Security Attorney
Social Security can be complicated and very intimidating to apply for. It is also vital that everything is completed correctly so that your chances of receiving benefits are their highest.
To maximize your potential to receive benefits, consider getting assistance from a Social Security attorney. Their expertise in filing paperwork and presenting cases can make all the difference you need to qualify for the benefits you deserve.
What Happens When Your Nine Month Trial Work Period Ends
The Trial Work Period permits nine months of above-the-limit monthly earnings while continuing to receive the full monthly SSD benefit payment. Once the nine months are all used, the Social Security Administration encourages the working SSD recipient to continue earning a higher income. SSD created the Extended Period of Eligibility of three additional months during which the SSD recipient can continue to earn more than the SSD income limit and still receive their usual monthly SSD payment.
After the three-month Extended Period of Eligibility is used, then SSD benefit payments will stop if the SSD recipient continues to work and earn more than the monthly income limit. But, for another period of 36 months, benefits will be resumed if the workers income falls beneath the monthly income limit for SSD benefits eligibility.
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You Can Work As Long As Your Countable Income Doesn’t Go Above The Ssi Income Limit
By Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author
One of the basic requirements for getting approved for disability benefits is that your medical condition is so severe it prevents you from performing a substantial amount of work. The Social Security Administration defines a substantial amount of work, which it calls substantial gainful activity , as earning $1,310 a month from working . Therefore, if you are earning this much from work when you apply for benefits, you will be denied.
However, once you get approved for SSI, the SSA no longer determines whether you are making over the SGA amount. But the SSA will reduce your SSI benefits if you are working by subtracting part of your income from your payment. If you go over the SSI income limit, the SSA will terminate your benefits. In general, though, the SSA encourages SSI recipients to try to go back to work and has created a number of work incentives that let a person work without losing their eligibility for benefits.
Qualifying For Disability Benefits
SSDI benefits are awarded to people whose medical condition meets the SSAs definition of a disabilitythat is, a physical or mental health condition that prevents someone from working and engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity . In addition, the qualifying condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least one year .
Unlike other Social Security programs such as Supplemental Security Income , qualifying for disability also requires that you have earned enough work credits. SSDI is funded by Social Security payroll taxes, so in order to be considered insured, you must have worked long enough, recently enough, and you must have paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. Once you qualify for disability, your benefits will continue unless your disability improves or until you reach retirement age.
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Why Do Disabled People Still Lose Out
For starters, federal policy hasnt kept up with inflation or changes in the labor market, experts say. Thats especially so for Social Supplementary Income, the program James is on.
While the program mainly caters to the elderly and children with disabilities, Jamess situation highlights several dated provisions. For example, the $85 income deduction was set when the act was signed into law in 1972. It hasnt budged since. The $2,000 cap on liquid assets to qualify for SSI was set in 1989.
Another issue is the maximum monthly payout of $783. While this number does change annually, Romig notes its well below the poverty line.
For SSI and SSDI recipients who do work, their earned income can fluctuate month-to-month because its often hard to stick to a fixed work schedule due to the nature of their conditions. This makes it difficult for even the most earnest recipients to accurately report their income.
You always want people to work to their fullest potential, of course. This is America, Romig says. Thats one of our foundational ideals.
But the difficulty of navigating the programs coupled with the threat of losing benefits as a worker often clashes with that value.
How Does Social Security Disability Affect Retirement Benefits
Whether retirement is only a few years away or youre a younger disabled worker planning for the future, understanding the impacts of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance is important. Find out what you need to know about disability and retirement, plus tips for managing your benefits, from the Social Security disability lawyers at SSDA USA.
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The Extended Period Of Eligibility
Once you’ve exhausted your nine-month TWP, you enter the Extended Period of Eligibility . The EPE is a 36-month period during which you’ll continue to receive your full benefit every month as long as you remain disabled and earn less than Social Security’s substantial gainful activity threshold. In 2020, the SGA level is $1,260 for non-blind individuals and $2,110 for the blind.
If you earn over SGA in any month during the EPE, you’ll lose that month’s entire benefit, a situation sometimes referred to as the “cash cliff.” This will also cause Social Security to find that your disability has “ceased.” Once that happens, you will be paid in full for that month and an additional two-month grace period, before benefits terminate.
If you later stop working, or your earnings fall below the SGA level during the EPE, contact Social Security and your benefits will be restarted without having to file a new application. Because it’s so easy to re-start your benefits if your work attempt doesn’t work out, Social Security calls the EPE the “re-entitlement period.”
When the 36-month re-entitlement period ends, your benefits will continue as long as you are medically disabled and not earning SGA. If you earn over SGA for even one month after the 36-month period of re-entitlement, your benefits will terminate. However, if your medical condition makes you stop working again, you may be eligible for expedited reinstatement, if it’s within five years of the EPE.
Can I Apply For Disability While Working
The short answer is, yes, you can apply for disability while working.
However, you need to be earning under a certain amount and the Social Security Administration may look at the number of hours you are working as well as the type of work being performed to ascertain whether you could be working full time.
The amount that you are not allowed to earn more than is called the substantial gainful activity or SGA limit. If you earn more than that amount, SSA assumes you can do a substantial amount of work and determines that you are ineligible for disability. The 2020 SGA limit is $1,260 per month.
I believe working part-time while you are seeking disability benefits is a very risky proposition, and I am not the only experienced disability lawyer who thinks so.
The SSA might also check how many hours you are working per week. If you are working more than part-time, it may be difficult to persuade the SSA that you cannot work and should receive disability.
As part of the disability claim process, the SSA will be looking into what type of work you are capable of doing. If you have regularly been doing work that you claim you cannot do, this will negatively impact your case.
For example, if you injure your back and are applying for disability while working, it wont help your case if you are working stocking shelves while you wait for approval of your claim.
So to those wondering can I work while applying for disability, the answer is yes, but you will need to:
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Understanding Ssdi Benefits And Working
The rules for SSI differ from the rules for SSDI. Typically, those receiving SSDI cannot continue receiving benefits if they start participating in SGA. The administration encourages SSDI recipients to return to work if able. In fact, it provides a number of safety nets to help you do so, including:
Point of Interest
Let Us Review Your Case
Talk To A Social Security Disability Lawyer For Free Today
Many disabled individuals struggle to get the SSDI benefits they deserve. If you are worried about losing benefits or not qualifying, talk to Georgia Social Security Disability lawyers John Foy & Associates. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to help you with your SSDI case.
Contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Call us or contact us online to get started for FREE.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Working With A Disability
How will working affect my disability benefits and health care coverage?
This is a complicated question and the answer varies by situation and individual. In order to address your specific concerns about how working will affect your disability benefits or health care coverage, we have Disability Resource Coordinators available in some of our One-Stop Career Centers around the state. All of our Disability Resource Coordinators are certified benefits counselors who can provide free benefits counseling and tell you about the Ticket to Work Program. Go to the Disability Employment Initiative , to locate a Disability Resource Coordinator near you.
What is the Ticket to Work Program?
Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that can help Social Security Beneficiaries go to work and become financially independent. Individuals ages 18-64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income may qualify for this program. To find out more about the Ticket to Work Program, go to the Disability Employment Initiative to contact a Disability Resource Coordinator.
Can I return to work while receiving Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income ?
If I go to work, will I automatically lose my Medicare or Medicaid?
If I use my Ticket to go to work, will the Social Security Administration conduct a medical review of my case?
How can the local One Stop Career Center in my county assist me with the Ticket to Work Program?
If You Go Back To Work
If you’re like most people, you would rather work than try to live on disability benefits.
There are special rules that help you keep your cash benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work. We call these rules “work incentives.” For more information about Social Security work incentives, read Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.
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What Happens To Medicare Coverage During The Twp And Epe
Medicare coverage comes with SSDI benefits . It continues during the Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility. At the end of your TWP, you’ll remain covered by Medicare for another 93 months, even if you’re working and earning SGA during this time. Of course, if you remain entitled to disability benefits after the EPE ends, you will still enjoy Medicare coverage as well.
Can You Collect Social Security And Disability
Wondering whether you can collect Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time? The short answer is probably not. The long answer, however, is maybe. Social Security and SSDI serve similar purposes, but the requirements vary for each. Social Security is for those whove reached early or full retirement age, while disability insurance typically serves younger individuals who cannot work due to serious medical conditions. However, an exception may apply. We take a closer look in this guide.
A financial advisor can provide professional insight into the world of retirement planning. Find a financial advisortoday.
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Please Answer A Few Questions To Help Us Determine Your Eligibility
How much you can earn while on disability is different for individuals currently getting SSDI benefits and those getting SSI benefits. For a discussion of how much you can work when first applying for benefits, see our section on working and eligibility for Social Security disability. This article is about how working affects people who are currently receiving SSDI benefits, versus how working affects people who are currently receiving SSI benefits.
Some Earnings Dont Count Against The Ssd Income Limit
The income you earn while you are getting SSD benefits is not all the same. Some disability-related expenses you incur can be deducted from your earnings to keep you under the monthly earnings cap.
Your best strategy is to consult today with an experienced SSD lawyer who is an expert in the many exceptions and special regulations that may apply to your disability case. The Law Office of M.J. Ellis is devoted to helping disabled people of Northern New Jersey receive the highest possible SSD benefits. M.J. Ellis Disability Law Office is the SSD law specialist to get you and your family every SSD and SSI benefit you deserve.
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How Much Can I Earn A Month While On Social Security Disability In 2020
The SSA requires that you no longer be able to work in gainful employment in order to collect Social Security disability. For 2020, that means earning no more $1,260 per month unless youre blind, in which case a higher $2,110 monthly limit applies.