Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are a number of special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind disabled workers.
In 2021, the monthly earnings limit is $2,190.
Title Ii Disability Benefits
This article discusses how work can affect a personâs eligibility for Title II disability benefits, commonly referred to as âSocial Security Disability.â The next Voice article will discuss preserving Medicare and Medicaid benefits when a Title II disability recipient begins to work.
Title II of the Social Security Act provides three types of insurance benefits for individuals with disabilities. Some people receive Title II disability benefits on their own work history . Others receive Title II disability insurance on the account of a deceased spouse or former spouse s Benefits or DWB). Some adult children receive Title II disability benefits on the account of a disabled, retired or deceased parent . In order for a worker, spouse, or child to qualify for Title II disability benefits, the worker on whose account benefits are paid must have paid Social Security taxes on earnings and must have earned the requisite number of work credits. Title II disability benefits are a type of insurance and are not affected by a personâs assets or unearned income.
How Long Can You Collect Social Security Disability
To put it in the simplest terms, Social Security Disability benefits can remain in effect for as long as you are disabled or until you reach the age of 65. Once you reach the age of 65, Social Security Disability benefits stop and retirement benefits kick in.
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Some Work Expenses May Be Excluded From Being Considered Income
SSI recognizes a person with a disability may require work-related accommodations, their cost may be used to reduce income that counts against your SSI benefits. For example, if you must have modifications made to your car to get to and from work, the cost may be deducted from your earned income.
Under its Plan to Achieve Self-Support or PASS initiative, the SSA lets you create a plan to achieve your employment goal. PASS recognizes that the purpose of the SSI payments you receive each month is to pay for food, housing, and other ordinary living expenses and not for achieving your work goals, including:
- Job training and education.
- Childcare to allow you to go to work.
- Transportation expenses.
Money spent on achieving your goal of working does not count as income that would affect your SSI payments. Unlike the exclusion allowed for income earned from working, money for PASS may come from other sources of income. It may also come from financial resources, which would reduce their value that may otherwise affect your SSI benefits.
How Much Can You Earn And Still Receive Social Security
When you take benefits while you’re still working, Social Security may withhold part of your benefit depending on your income if you haven’t reached full retirement age. Your full retirement age is between 66 and 67 if you were born from 1943 to 1959; it’s 67 if you were born in 1960 or later.
Social Security will withhold benefits at the following rates in 2021:
- $1 for every $2 of earned income above $18,960 until the year you reach full retirement age. Let’s say you’re 64 and earn $20,000 from working, and you’re already getting benefits. You’ve earned $1,040 above the earnings limit, so Social Security would withhold $520 from your benefit.
- $1 for every $3 of earned income above $50,520 the year you reach full retirement age until the month before you’re eligible for your full benefit. Suppose you reach full retirement age in October. Social Security would only reduce your benefits if you earned more than $50,520 between January and September.
These rules apply whether you’re an older worker taking benefits based on your own work record or you’re getting a spousal benefit or a survivor benefit.
The key to understanding Social Security’s rules about working and benefits is that everything changes when you reach the date when you can fully retire. After that point, you can earn as much as you want and still keep all your benefits. Earlier, though, you can give up some of your benefits.
How To Protect Or Enforce Your Rights: Appeals
SSA denies many applications for disability benefits. Denials often occur because there was not enough medical evidence to prove a disabling problem. More than 50% of appeals are successful. If SSA denies your claim, strongly consider filing an appeal. Many people give up, wait a period of time, and reapply. In most cases, it is a better decision to file an appeal rather than to wait and to reapply. You should also consider appeals in other cases. You can appeal if you believe that SSA wrongly reduced or terminated your benefits. Also, if SSA takes wrongful actions, such as finding an overpayment or requiring a representative payee. Suppose you are already receiving benefits, and SSA sends you a notice to reduce or terminate. In that case, you may be able to keep your benefits while you appeal. You will need to act quickly to appeal, usually within ten days of receipt of the notice. Indicate on the appeal form that you wish to continue to receive your benefits during the appeal. For example, if SSA decides you are no longer disabled and sends you a notice, you may choose to keep your benefits until a judge issues a decision.; There levels of the Appeal Process are as follows:
Requests for reconsideration
Request for an ALJ hearing
Request for review by the appeals council
- The ALJ made an error of law,
- His decision was not supported by substantial evidence, or
- There was an abuse of discretion.
Lawsuits in U.S. District Court
The judge can:
How to file an appeal with SSA
The Trial Work Period For Ssdi
During the first nine months that you return to work, you’ll continue to receive your SSDI benefits, even if you work more than the amount that Social Security considers “substantial gainful activity,” or “SGA.” At the end of nine months of work, your trial work period is over and your benefits will stop if you are doing SGA.
You are entitled to nine trial work months during your trial work period, but a month doesn’t count toward your nine months if you make less than $940 or if you work less than 80 hours per month in self-employment . Your nine trial work months don’t need to be consecutive, so there can be gaps between the trial work months that count toward your nine-month limit.
Once you’ve used nine trial work months during any five-year period, you have exhausted your trial work period and are generally not entitled to another trial work period. There are a few situations where you can get another trial period:
- your SSDI benefits end due to working and you become entitled to benefits again by submitting a new application for SSDI benefits
- your SSDI benefits end due to working but you become entitled to benefits again through “expedited reinstatement,” or
- you don’t use up your nine months in a five-year period.
In addition, if your disability benefits stopped for a period but you became eligible for benefits again through expedited reinstatement , you are eligible for a new trial work period 24 months after your disability benefits are reinstated.
Should I Work And Take Social Security
If you want to maximize your monthly Social Security checks, the simplest retirement strategy is to wait until full retirement age before claiming your benefits. That way, youll be able to earn an unlimited amount without losing a penny of your Social Security.
If waiting that long isnt an option, there are still some things you can do. For many, claiming at the beginning of the year in which youll reach full retirement age works out fine because the higher earnings limits make it less likely that youll give up your Social Security.
Finally, if youre expecting to work on a part-time basis, its smart to look at the earnings limits and how they compare with your pay. If it looks like you might trigger the provisions, then you might decide to work a little less to keep all your benefits.
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Working In Any Years Before You Hit Fra
The earliest you can claim Social Security is 62, but if you were born in 1943 or later, the earliest you’ll reach FRA is 66. This means you could both work and earn Social Security benefits for as long as four to five years before you reach the year you’ll hit FRA. In any of these years, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 earned above a set income limit.
The amount you can earn without affecting benefits changes each year. For 2019, the limit is $17,640. This is the limit that applies to you if you will not hit FRA in 2019 but are working and receiving Social Security benefits at the same time during this year.
Let’s take a look at how this could affect your benefits, assuming you were scheduled to receive $14,000 in total checks from Social Security in 2019 and that you will not hit FRA during the entirety of this year:
If you have some money withheld from benefits due to working too much, you get credited for this and eventually get your money back — provided you live long enough. We’ll discuss how and when your withheld funds come back to you below.
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Benefits For A Disabled Child
A child under age 18 may be disabled, but we don’t need to consider the child’s disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as a dependent. The child’s benefits normally stop at age 18 unless he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or high school or is disabled.
Children who were receiving benefits as a minor child on a parents Social Security record may be eligible to continue receiving benefits on that parents record upon reaching age 18 if they are disabled.
How Your Ssdi Payments Are Calculated
The severity of your disability will not affect the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. The Social Security Administration will determine your payment based on your lifetime average earnings before you became disabled. Your benefit amount will be calculated using your covered earnings. These are your earnings at jobs where your employer took money out of your wages for Social Security or FICA.
Your SSDI monthly benefit will be based on your average covered earnings over a period of time, which is referred to as your average indexed monthly earnings . The SSA uses these amounts in a formula to determine your primary insurance amount . This is the basic amount used to establish your benefit.
SSDI payments range on average between $800 and $1,800 per month. The maximum benefit you could receive in 2020 is $3,011 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate of your monthly benefits.
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How Much Can I Earn On Social Security Disability In 2021
Before you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, one of the many considerations youll need to make is whether disability benefits alone will provide you with enough financial support. The maximum disability benefit amount you can receive each month is $3,148. However, the average beneficiary will receive somewhere closer to $1,277 per month.
Of course, qualifying for SSDI benefits is contingent upon proving that you have a disabling condition which prevents you from making substantial income. But just because you are receiving disability benefits doesnt mean you arent allowed to generate any income. Read on to find out about 2021 SSDI income limits and how to maximize your monthly earnings and benefits.
How Are My Benefits Calculated
The SSA uses your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings and Primary Insurance Amount to calculate your benefits. The formula Social Security uses is quite complicated, and most people wont be interested in trying to calculate their benefits on their own, especially because Social Security can give you an estimate.
To give you an idea of what you might receive, for 2021, the average SSDI benefit amount is $1,277 per month, but those whose income was fairly high in recent years can receive up to $3,148.
If youre interested in how Social Security calculates your AIME and PIA, heres how.
Average SSDI Benefit in 2021 Monthly Social Security disability benefits range from $100 to $3,148.
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How Much Can I Earn On Social Security Disability In 2020
Receiving social security disability benefits can provide life-changing income for those that can no longer work due to their disability. But if the social security administrations determines you are able to make money even though it may not be the full amount you once earned you can still be denied SSD benefits.
For those who do receive disability benefits, the amounts may not be enough to live the same lifestyle they once had. To combat this issue, individuals collecting social security disability checks will attempt to earn money while still drawing disability checks. However, although you can return to work, there are guidelines to the amount that can be earned, and this amount is adjusted every year as well. So the big question is, how much can I earn while collecting social security disability in 2020?
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Are Your Social Security Benefits Taxed If You’re Still Working
If you have earnings from working or you have other taxable income, such as distributions from a retirement plan, part of your Social Security may be taxed.
Whether you’re still employed or you’re a retiree, you’ll pay taxes on up to 85% of your Social Security benefit if:
- You’re single with a taxable income of $34,000 or higher.
- You’re married filing jointly with a combined taxable income of $44,000 or higher.
You’ll pay taxes on up to 50% of your Social Security benefit if:
- You’re single with a taxable income between $25,000 and $34,000.
- You’re married filing jointly with a combined income between $32,000 and $44,000.
If your income is below these limits, you won’t owe taxes on your Social Security.;
What Happens To The Money Social Security Withholds
The Social Security Administration calculates the appropriate amount that you’ll forfeit and then takes it out of your monthly benefits. You’ll see entire monthly checks held back by the government to cover the withholding. For example, if you normally get Social Security of $1,000 per month but you have to forfeit $4,000, then Social Security will hold back four months’ worth of checks.
As painful as it is to lose your benefits, there is some payback. If you lose a month’s worth of benefits, then Social Security treats you as if you retired a month later than you did. Once you hit full retirement age, you’ll start getting larger monthly checks based on that later retirement date. You might not get all your lost money back, but the bigger checks will gradually send some of it your way.
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When Does Disability Pay More Than Social Security
Your PIA is the amount youd receive if you were to qualify for disability benefits. Its not that simple with Social Security benefits, however. While youre technically eligible to begin taking Social Security benefits at age 62, you wont receive your PIA until your;full retirement age , which will fall somewhere between 66 and 67. At 62, your benefit amount would be only 70% of your PIA, increasing gradually until you reach your FRA.
This means that between 62 and your FRA, your; disability benefit would be higher. And theres an additional benefit to taking disability: By electing for disability instead of Social Security, you allow your Social Security benefit to continue growing.
This disparity is even greater if you happen to become disabled after you turn, say, 63. The reason here is that your Social Security benefits will be determined by your PIA for the year you turn 62, while your disability benefits would be calculated with your PIA for the next year. Provided your AIME is the same or higher, then your PIA for the later year will be higher.