How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:
Those who are currently retired
To people with disabilities
To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died
Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits
Offsetting Your Earnings With Expenses
Earning more than $1,180 per month, or $1,970 per month if you’re blind, can make you ineligible for disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration will deduct certain disability-related expenses that allow you to work from your income to lower your earnings on paper. If, for example, you’re unable to take public transportation to work because of your disability and must pay for taxis or car service instead, deducting that cost from your earnings could be enough to push you below the SGA threshold, which would help you hold on to your disability benefits while employed. Let’s say, for instance, that you earn $2,000 per month but have $900 in deductible expenses. That $900 will effectively reduce your income to $1,100, leaving you eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Remember, the Social Security Administration actually encourages those receiving disability benefits to pursue work opportunities, and has special programs in place to help make that happen. And working while collecting benefits could wind up being just as good for your health as it is for your bank account.
Another Wrinkle To Part
Generally, Social Security will find you disabled if you can’t 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.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Find Out How Much Social Security I Will Get
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
How Many People Currently Receive Social Security Disability Benefits And What Is The Value Of The Benefits They Receive
About 8.8 million workers with disabilities currently receive Disability Insurance. The amount of Disability Insurance benefits that a disabled worker receives is based on his or her earnings before becoming disabled. As Table 1 shows, Disability Insurance benefits typically replace less than half of a disabled workers previous earnings.
As of March 2013, the average monthly benefit for a disabled worker was about $1,129, with male workers receiving $1,255 per month and female workers receiving $993 per month on average. About 1.9 million children of disabled workers and 160,000 spouses of disabled workers also receive supplemental benefits from Social Securityroughly $300 a month on average.
For most beneficiaries of Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security, disability benefits make up most or all of their income. For the vast majority of Disability Insurance beneficiariesabout 71 percenthalf or more of their income comes from Disability Insurance. And for nearly half of beneficiaries, 90 percent or more of their income comes from Disability Insurance. Given the modest extent to which benefits replace lost earnings and the limited sources of other income upon which they can depend, people who receive Disability Insurance are rarely able to maintain the same standard of living they had before becoming disabled. Disability Insurance provides a floor, however, that moderates the decline in their living standards.
Can You Work While On Social Security Disability
Qualifying to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration isnât easy. Itâs not uncommon for the processing of an application to take six months, or more, before getting a decision. The SSA is not known for moving quickly or being easy to work with. As you probably know, thereâs a lot of red tape working with any government agency the SSA is no exception.
Based on this, you would think that working part-time while collecting SSDI benefits would be a definite âno-no.â But, surprisingly, thatâs not the case. The SSA wants you to work, so the amount of benefits they have to pay out is reduced. So yes, you can work while on social security disability.
But, there are, of course, some rules and regulations that Uncle Sam has imposed for you to continue to receive payment if youâre working while collecting SSDI benefits. Letâs take a look at how this works.
You need to know three things about collecting Social Security disability benefits while working: the trial work period, the extended period of eligibility, and work expenses related to your disability payment.
Get Help Applying For Disability Benefits Such As Ssi Or Ssdi In Colorado
Did you know that it is possible to work and receive social security disability benefits at the same time? While employment can be about more than a paycheck, theres no denying that the ability to earn money, support oneself and plan for the future is among the top incentives for most people.
Are you concerned that work wont provide enough income for you to live as independently as you would like? We can help you understand how Social Security disability benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance can help maximize your income. If you qualify, we can help you, or refer you to someone who can help you apply for these benefits while you work or pursue employment. This service is provided state-wide by Center for Independent Living staff, at no cost to you.
Whether you are interested in work or not, if you are a resident of Colorado and need help with social security disability benefits, fill out the form to the right and someone will be in touch with you within 2 business days.
Share this flyer about the Centers for Independent Living with your friends.
Comparta este folleto sobre los Centros para Vivir Independiente con sus amigos.
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Can You Work While On Ssdi
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’re working and making more than $1,350 per month in 2022 . So that’s how much you can make in 2022 without affecting your disability benefits. And, you can deduct disability-related work expenses from that total. For more information, see our article on SSDI income limits.
But, to encourage SSDI recipients to go back to work, 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.
Trial work period. For a 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 2022, the Social Security Administration considers any month where a person has a monthly income of more than $970 to be a trial work month. If you’re self-employed, any month where you work more than 80 hours can also be considered a trial work month.
For more information, see our article on the trial work period, the extended period of eligibility, and expedited reinstatement.
Working While Applying For Benefits
Keep in mind that the mere fact that you’re working, even if you are making somewhat less than $1,350 per month, may influence whether a disability claims examiner or a disability judge believes you’re disabled, especially if you’re working more than 15 or 20 hours a week. For this reason, many disability lawyers and representatives will advise their clients not to work while their case is pending. For more information, see our article on whether you have to quit work when applying for disability benefits.
Read Also: How Do I File For Social Security At 62
Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments
Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.
To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.
Risks Of Working When Applying For Benefits
You need to earn a living, and it can take a long time to get approved for benefits. However, if your case is not cut and dry , you may want to think twice about working when you apply for benefits. While technically, making under $1,310 per month is okay, if it takes you more than a few hours week to earn this amount, and a claims examiner or judge sees that you are able to perform the work, they may be less likely to believe that your medical condition is so functionally limiting that you are totally disabled. On appeal, for instance, a judge may think that if you can work a somewhat demanding job part-time, perhaps you can work full time at an easy job. Or a judge may think that you are working part time only because you can’t find full-time work, not because of a medical condition. For these reasons, some disability lawyers advise their clients to not work at all while they await a decision.
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Working And Receiving Disability Benefits
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Working Part-Time While Receiving SSDI and ERISA Disability Benefits
Disabled persons, who are receiving disability benefits, often ask whether they can do some type of part-time work while continuing to receive long-term disability benefits from either Social Security or from an employer-sponsored group disability plan under ERISA, or both.
Social Security Allows Limited Part-Time Work
The Social Security Administration allows for part-time work up to substantial gainful activity or SGA. The SGA amount changes from year to year, but in 2019 it is $1,220 per month. What that means is, even if you are doing part-time work, you may continue to receive your SSDI benefit, and the SSA will still consider you to be permanently disabled, as long as your earned income is no greater than the SGA amount .
It should be noted that earned income is considered in the month the work is performed, not when you get paid, and, it is worth pointing out that after an applicant receives an SSDI award, Social Security monitors an SSDI-recipient’s earnings and requires that any earned income be reported promptly to the SSA. Not doing so may constitute insurance fraud.
Any passive income that you receive does not count toward SGA. It’s only earned income or employment income that the SSA cares about.
Trial Work Period
There are complicated tests for self-employed individuals under the SSA
How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Direct Express debit card – a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
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Social Security Disability Evaluation Process
While there are some conditions that the Social Security Administration considers so severe that they automatically render an applicant disabled, many conditions require careful screening, including answering these five questions:
In addition, qualifying conditions must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.
What Can Happen If I Do Not Report My Earnings From Working
It can be difficult to make ends meet when trying to survive solely on disability benefits. It may be tempting to do a little work on the side and not report the earnings, so you do not lose your disability benefits. This can have serious consequences.
You must report all work and all changes in work. You must include all earnings, including both wages and self-employment. If you continue to accept disability benefits while working and not reporting your income, the SSA may determine it made an overpayment to you for every month in which you worked.
Even if you quit your unreported job, the SSA can withhold future benefit payments until you have paid off the overpayment amount. If the SSA terminates your disability benefits, you may have to repay the entire overpaid amount out of pocket. The SSA can intercept tax refunds and garnish your wages to collect the overpayment.
You might even face Social Security fraud charges. The SSA has a zero-tolerance policy for fraud. Consequences can include having to pay back all overpayments, fines of up to $5,000 for each occurrence, and imprisonment.
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Can I Work Part
It is possible to receive Social Security disability benefits if you are working part-time. However, there are strict limits as to how much you can work and earn while getting Social Security Disability Insurance . But in some cases, you may take part in work incentives while receiving the full amount of SSDI.
Understanding the rules regarding working part-time and receiving SSDI can be tricky. If you receive disability benefits and want to start working, it is advisable to consult with a trusted and experienced disability attorney. Getting the right advice means that you can avoid the risk of the Social Security Administration stopping your benefits.
This article will answer any questions you may have about working while receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Benefits and Working Part-Time
You can apply for SSDI benefits if illnesses or injuries prevent you from working. The disability benefit amount you receive is based on a calculation of your earnings history. Your earnings while working and receiving SSDI must be less than substantial gainful activity.
Substantial Gainful Activity
SGA is generally any work that provides you above a certain income in any given month . Generally, SSDI recipients can work part-time earning below the substantial gainful activity income limits. In 2020, the substantial gainful activity limits are as follows:
- The number of hours you work
- The type of work you are performing