Many people do not know that you can earn money and still collect social security disability payments. If you want to work, and still collect social security disability, you should discuss the situation with a social security disability attorney for personalized legal advice.
The rules for earning money while receiving social security disability revolve around whether or not you are engaged in substantial gainful activity (“SGA”). There are also rules regarding initially trying to work after you have been found to be disabled – what is referred to the as the trial work period rules.
If you are working when you are initially filing for benefits, the Social Security Administration must determine if your work is considered to be SGA. If it is, you are automatically disqualified for receiving benefits. For the year 2016 you are determined to be engaging in SGA if your gross earnings, after consideration of out of pocket medical expenses you are required to incur to allow you to work, exceed $1,130 per month ($1,820 if you are blind).
Disabled workers are entitled to a 9 month trial work period, which need not occur in consecutive months. During this time the worker can make more than the substantial gainful activity amount without having her/his benefits cut. At present, if the worker earns at least $810 (either as an employee or in self-employment) or works in self-employment for more than 80 hours in the month, it is considered as one of the nine months.
If you have completed the nine month trial period, you can receive social security disability benefits during any month your earnings fall below the substantial gainful activity level during the 36 months immediately following the last month of the 9 month trial work period.
In the event that you are no longer able to receive social security disability payments because your income is too high, you will be eligible to have payments reinstated if you stop work due to your disability for a five year period, without having to file a new application and without a new 5 month waiting period.
It is important to discuss all of these options with your social security disability attorney. Being able to bring in income is something many people enjoy, but you need to fully understand how it can impact your eligibility for benefits. By getting legal advice from a qualified, experienced lawyer, you will be able to make an informed decision about earning money while receiving social security disability payments. Your attorney can also ensure that you are aware of the substantial gainful activity threshold, as the amounts change each year, as well as any other changes.
Before you start earning money while receiving disability benefits, talk to your lawyer and understand all of your options, for now and in the future.