Working While On Social Security Disability
Many people assume that you cannot work if you are receiving Social Security Disability. While that is generally true in most cases, there are some exceptions. If you meet the Social Security Administrations specific criteria for working while on Social Security Disability, you may still be able to remain employed and receive benefits.
How Works Affects Your Ssi Payment
Itâs important to understand how SSI benefit amounts are calculated before you can figure out how working will affect your payments.
For the year 2021, the SSA will pay up to $794 in SSI benefits . This amount is called the federal benefit rate . Your monthly benefit amount is the difference between the FBR and your countable income. Your countable income is made up of the following:
- wages you are paid from your job
- the value of free food and shelter provided for you
- support money from family or friends , and
- payments from other sources, like veterans benefits or unemployment.
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How Are Disability Insurance And Supplemental Security Benefits Funded
Disability Insurance is funded by payroll tax contributions from workers and their employers. Workers currently pay a tax of 0.9 percent of their wages up to $113,700, and their employers pay an equal amount. These tax contributions go into the Disability Insurance trust fund. Funding for Supplemental Security comes from the federal income tax and other federal revenues.
The Social Security Administration administers both of these programs. State agencies, usually called disability determination services, make the initial determination of whether applicants meet the disability standard. These state agencies are federally funded and follow federal guidelines.
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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 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 or contact us online to get started for FREE.
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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.
Ssdi & Ssi Benefits Are For People Who Cannot Earn A Living
- If you can work and earn enough money to make a living for yourself, you might not be eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits.
- SSDI benefits are for people who have medical/mental conditions that prevent them from working. These benefits are available to people who have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify.
- SSI is for disabled people based on financial need. Recipients cannot earn more than a certain amount of money nor possess more than a certain amount of property to qualify.
- You can work while receiving Social Security retirement orsurvivors benefits, however.
Social Security And Short
Can you receive short-term disability benefits through Social Security?
This is a common question caused by a common problem.
You may have suffered an accident or illness that prevents you from working and earning an income. You have bills to pay, but no money coming in.
Your employer may not provide paid leave or short-term disability. Perhaps, you did not buy a private policy in advance.
It is a hard lesson to learn. Few alternatives exist to replace lost wages.
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Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Supplemental Security Income helps people who are unable to earn sufficient wages on their own. It is available to adults with disabilities, children with disabilities and people 65 or older. Individuals with enough work history may be eligible to receive SSI in addition to disability or retirement benefits. The amount individuals receive varies based on their other sources of income and where they live.
Working And Ssdi Benefits
Generally, SSDI recipients can’t do what’s considered “substantial gainful activity” and continue to receive disability benefits. In a nutshell, doing SGA means you are working and making more than $1,310 per month in 2021 . To encourage SSDI recipients to go back to work, however, Social Security has created some exceptions to this rule. SSDI recipients are entitled to a trial work period during which they can make more than the SGA amount without losing benefits.
For the nine-month trial work period, SSDI recipients are entitled to test their ability to work and continue to receive full benefits regardless of whether they make more than the SGA amount. For 2021, the Social Security Administration considers any month where a person has a monthly income of more than $940 to be a trial work month. If you are self-employed, any month where you work more than 80 hours can also be considered a trial work month.
Once you have completed the nine-month trial work period , you can still receive SSDI for any month where your earnings fall below the SGA level, for a period of 36 months. This three-year period is called the “extended period of eligibility.” In other words, if you earn less than $1,310 in any month, you will get benefits, but if you earn more than $1,310 in any month, you won’t get disability benefits for that month .
For more information, see our article on the trial work period, the extended period of eligibility, and expedited reinstatement.
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Income Limits For Social Security Retirement Benefits
Many people ask, How much can you earn in 2021 and draw Social Security? The annual limit for 2021 is $18,960 for those who have not reached full retirement age. So, suppose that you begin receiving benefit payments at age 62. This special rule states that you can have no more than $18,960 in annual earnings or else your benefits will be reduced. Keep in mind that the earnings limit only applies to money earned from work. It does not include earnings from investments like an IRA or capital gains. However, if a spouse or child receives benefits based on your work record, their benefits will be reduced as a result of your earnings as well.
If you claim benefits and have been working for the entire year, then it might be a good idea to check out the SSAs earnings test calculator. You should know that it is your responsibility to notify the Social Security Administration of your earnings. Failure to notify SSA might mean that your benefits do not get appropriately reduced, especially in your first year of working. You might continue receiving your full monthly checks, and then you will be forced to repay those extra benefits when you file your income taxes. You might even owe some additional fines and penalties as well. Be sure that you are aware of these rules when it comes to allowable monthly income so that you do not find yourself in this situation.
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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.
Vocational Training Could Benefit You And Your Family
There is no need to give up your Social Security Disability benefits to work. We can even help you acquire the skills you need to become qualified for a job you might be able to perform given your disability, injury or illness. Vocational training can even be beneficial if your injury is only temporary.
Vocational training could help you acquire skills such as:
- Computer skills
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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.
Another Wrinkle To Part
Generally, Social Security will find you disabled if you cant sustain full-time work on a regular basis. But if your regular work before applying for disability was part-time work, and Social Security finds you can still do this work, your claim can be denied. See our article on partial disability and part-time work.
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Certain Government And Railroad Employees
There are some jobs that dont pay into Social Security. Federal government employees hired before 1984 are included in the Civil Service Retirement System , which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. These workers did not have Social Security taxes deducted from their paychecks and thus are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits.
They may still qualify if they have earned benefits through another job or a spouse. However, in these cases, CSRS pension payments may reduce Social Security payouts. Government workers who are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System , which replaced CSRS, are eligible for Social Security benefits.
Most state and local employees have Social Security protection under a federal Section 218 agreement. However, some of these workersincluding those who work for a public school system, college, or universitywill not receive Social Security benefits if they do not pay Social Security taxes. They generally receive pension benefits from their employers.
Disability Benefits For Veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- medical aids or devices
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Is Your Condition Found In The List Of Disabling Conditions
For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that we consider severe enough that it prevents a person from doing substantial gainful activity. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.
We have two initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:
- Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrigs disease , and pancreatic cancer.
- Quick Disability Determinations: We use sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.
For more information about our disability claims process, visit our Benefits For People With Disabilities website.
Extended Period Of Eligibility
So how does SGA affect a personâs eligibility to continue receiving his or her SSDI check? After the individual has accumulated 9 months of a TWP, he or she then has a 36- month period referred to as an âextended period of eligibilityâ . During the EPE, Social Security looks at whether earnings in any given month exceed the applicable SGA amount, after taking into account any gross wage reductions for IRWE or work subsidies. If adjusted net earnings exceed the applicable SGA amount, Social Security will make a determination of cessation of disability. The SSDI benefit amount will be terminated after the third month from the cessation of disability month. If wages drop below the SGA amount in any given month during the 36-month EPE, the SSDI benefit amount will be reinstated.
The importance of the EPE is that an individual can again receive the SSDI benefit amount in any month during the 36-month period when countable earnings fall below the SGA amount.
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Working And Ssi Benefits
You can begin to work and continue to receive SSI benefits as long as your wages and other resources do not exceed the SSA’s income limit for SSI however, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced in proportion to your income.
Here’s how the SSA reduces your income. Both the federal benefit amount and the SSI countable income limit are $794 . The SSA will reduce your benefit by the amount of your countable income. Fortunately, not all of your income is countable income.
If your only income is from your job, the SSA does not include the first $85 you earn toward your countable income. After taking the $85 adjustment off of your income, the SSA will deduct, from your monthly benefits, 50 cents for every dollar you earn. For example, an individual who earns $1,000 a month from working has $457.50 of countable income . The individual’s monthly SSI benefit amount would be reduced by $457.50.
Your monthly benefit amount is also affected by the amount your state adds to the federal SSI payment, if any. For more information, see our article on how much SSI pays.
If your SSI payments stop because you earn too much money , but you are subsequently forced to quit work because of your disability, the SSA will reinstate your benefits without the need for a new application for a period of five years.
Learn more about the SSI work incentive programs.
Can You Work While On Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Benefits are designed to help those with disabilities stay financially afloat. A common question people have is Can I work while on social security disability?
When youre injured or unable to work for medical reasons, you can apply for Social Security Disability. We get questions about working while on workers compensation, but do the same rules apply to disability? Can you work while on social security disability?
Its a good question with a complicated answer. Yes, you can work while receiving disability benefits. However, there are rules and limits to how much you can earn to continue receiving disability.
SSA disability isnt the same as receiving workers compensation benefits. Workers comp is typically short-term financial help to cover medical bills and lost wages while recovering from an on-the-job injury. Social security disability is available to people with a long-term injury or health condition that prevents them from completing full-time employment.
Lets explore how you can work and earn some money without violating the rules of Social Security Disability.
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What Can Cause Benefits To Stop
Two things can cause us to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits:
if you work at a level we consider “substantial.”
In 2021, average earnings of $1,310 or more per month are usually considered substantial. The amount of earnings that we consider substantial changes each year.
- if we decide that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.
Remember, you are responsible for promptly reporting any improvement in your condition, or if you return to work. The booklet we send you when your application is approved explains what you need to report to us. For more information on what else may cause your benefits to stop, refer to How We Decide if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability.