Who May Be Eligible
SSDI: A worker who becomes disabled. Also, certain family members may be eligible. These family members, with some limitations not fully described below, may include:
- The workers spouse, if the spouse is caring for their child who is younger than age 16 or who is disabled
- The workers spouse, if the spouse is age 62 or older
- The workers child if the child is younger than age 18. If the child is still in grade school or high school full time, the child can receive benefits up to age 19
- The workers child who is age 18 or older, if this adult child is disabled and became disabled before age 22
- The workers divorced spouse, if:
- The divorced spouse is age 62 or older,
- Was married to the worker for at least 10 years, and
- Is not currently married.
SSI: U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants who are financially needy. Also, who are at least 65 years old, blind or disabled.
An Extra Consideration For Ssi
Keep in mind that SSI takes into account not just your income, but your household income as well.
That means that in addition to not engaging in SGA, you also have to meet certain household income limitations to qualify for SSI.
You could be under SGA, but if your spouse or roommate is making more money than SSI allows, then you will likely not qualify for SSI.
Can You Work And Collect Social Security Yes With Limits
As simple words go, retirement carries a lot of weight and a lot of baggage.
Now that retirement is bouncing around in your mind, and you entertain the thought of giving up your day job, you ask yourself:
Is my retirement income and Social Security going to be enough for my preferred lifestyle?
What am I going to do with myself every day?
One answer responds to both questions. You can retire, collect Social Security, still work and be productive. The trick is theres a limit to how much you can make depending on your age.
If you are at what Social Security deems full retirement age, you can collect and keep your full Social Security benefits and make as much money as you want.
If you are not yet at full retirement age but are receiving Social Security benefits, you can make up to $18,960 a year without penalty. Thats $1,580 a month, or $364 a week. We get into more details later in this post of what happens when you go over that amount.
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Working Part Time After You’re Approved For Benefits
After you start receiving benefits, the rules change a bit as to whether you can work part time. For Social Security disability insurance , technically the SGA limit still applies, but you have what’s called a “trial work period.” This is a period of nine months during which you can more than the SGA limit. For more information, see our article on the trial work period.
If you’re receiving SSI, the $1,310 SGA limit applies only during your first month of benefits. After that, the SSI income limit applies instead. Because of the way earned income is counted , there is no set SSI income limit for those who work part-time. But the more you earn, the lower your SSI payment will be. And when you start making upwards of $1,600, your SSI payment will be reduced to zero. To understand how this works, see our article on the SSI income limit.
The Effect Of The Gig Economy On Working While Disabled
The gig economy has had a significant impact on peopleâs ability to earn money while theyâre considered disabled by the SSA or private companies issuing disability income insurance policies.
Letâs use Gina as an example.
Gina is an accountant, and before becoming disabled, she worked for a firm that required her to report to the office every day where she would meet with clients.
After being seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, Gina qualified for long-term disability benefits because she could no longer physically go to her office and perform her duties, and her firm would not let her work virtually.
However, being the industrious type, Gina decided to spend part of her day freelancing as a virtual personal assistant. She was able to spend about 4 hours per day working and replaced right at 50% of her income, something she wouldnât have been able to do if she couldnât have used digital platforms like Zoom and Trello.
As a result of working on a limited basis, Gina qualified for residual disability benefits.
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How Much Can I Make On Disability
Before we get into your options, we should first explain how much you can make on disability. The income limit depends on what benefit you are receiving.
If you work while receiving Social Security Disability Insurance , you must make below a certain amount, adjusted according to the years cost of living. For 2017, the income limit is $1,170 per month.
If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income , your income must be below that years Federal Benefit Rate. In 2017, this amount is $735.
When Do Work Hours Matter For Ssdi
If you earn more than $1,260 per month, the SSA considers you to be self-supporting. Hours are not usually what the SSA looks at if youre on SSDI. However, the hours you work might matter if:
- You are self-employed.
- You are the head of a business, such as a Limited Liability Company or corporation.
When you work for yourself, you can work hours without receiving an hourly wage. In that case, the SSA will look at how many hours youve worked, plus your monthly income.
Social Security typically allows up to 45 hours of work per month if youre self-employed and on SSDI. That comes out to around 10 hours per week. The SSA will also see whether or not youre the only person working for your business. You must not be earning SGA, along with not working too many hours.
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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.
Social Security Disability Determination
Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.
Certain family members of disabled workers also can receive money from Social Security.
To begin the proces of determining whether or not you qualify for Social Security based on a disability, you will need to apply directly to the US Social Security Administration . Review How to Apply for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits for more information.
The Districts Disability Determination Division processes claims for Social Security Disability Insurance determinations. Once DDD finishes this process, we will return the claim is returned to SSA. If the determination was unfavorable, an appeal would need to be filed with the SSA and the DDD will then re-examine the claim. Find out more about the determination process.
The following publications and websites provide additional information about Social Security:
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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 Live In Quebec
If you live in Quebec, you would not apply for the disability benefit under the Canada Pension Plan. You can apply for the Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit if one of the following applies to you:
- you have worked only in the province of Quebec
- you currently live in Quebec and have worked both in the province of Quebec and in another province or territory
- you have worked in Quebec, currently live outside Canada and your last province of residence was Quebec
If you worked both in and outside Quebec
If you paid into both the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan, you need to apply to the province where you live now.
If you worked outside Canada
If you worked in a country other than Canada, the credits you earned in that country may help you qualify for the disability benefit.
If you worked less to care for young children
If you have periods of zero or low income because you stayed home to raise your children, the child-rearing provision could help you qualify for the disability benefit.
If you are divorced or separated
Any contributions you and your spouse or common-law partner made to the CPP while you lived together may be equally divided after a divorce or a separation. This may help you qualify for the disability benefit. Find out more about .
If you missed applying for disability benefits in the past
If you are applying for the disability benefit, but stopped working a while ago, you may still apply for a benefit now.
You may be able to receive the benefit if:
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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 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.
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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.
How Many Hours Can You Work If You Are On Disability
Generally, the number of hours you can work will vary depending on your salary. You can earn no more than $1,350 gross each month for disability income payments in your name. Overall Household income levels affect only Social Security Insurance payments.
Disability benefits are not a gold mine. Living high on the hog is not possible on Social Security Disability benefits. Supplementing your benefit payments with earned income from a part-time job is a good option for many clients. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security
Email us or call us at 877-794-2396 to find out more about how you can supplement your Social Security Disability benefit payments with part-time work income. Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable, helpful, and highly skilled attorneys in your area.
Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo is headquartered in Philadelphia. We advise, counsel and represent clients from 11 different offices throughout Pennsylvania.
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How Works Affects Your Ssi Payment
It’s 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.
How Long Do I Have To Work To Qualify For Disability
The amount of years worked that is necessary to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age. Social Security quantifies your work history in terms of work credits. Typically, you will have needed to worked 5 of the last 10 years to have enough work credits to quality for Social Security Disability Income . Usually, you need 20 work credits earned in the last 10 years.
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How To Keep Your Social Security Disability Benefits
What can you do to ensure that you keep your social security benefits until age 66 or 67 when they convert to retirement benefits?
Dont just assume you will continue to get disability payments forever plan ahead and be ready for your continuing disability reviews. Document everything, so you and your doctors can provide complete information to the SSA at your disability review.
Schedule regular doctors visits and talk to your doctors about your medical condition including how your disability affects you and prevents you from performing daily activities. SSA will review your medical records at the disability review, and, if you have not been seeing your doctor, they will determine that your disability is not being documented.
Reply immediately to your continuing disability review notices and follow up if you do not hear back from the SSA. If you dont participate in the disability reviews, the SSA may terminate your benefits.
Reply immediately to all requests for information. When medical records or physicians statements are requested, provide them immediately. In some cases, you may be required to see a doctor chosen by the SSA for an independent medical examination respond immediately, schedule the appointment promptly, and show up.