Can you work while on Social Security disability benefits? Everything you need to know explained

AMERICANS can work and receive Social Security benefits at the same time, but only within strict limits.

Payments for either program will stop if Social Security finds that you are earning a substantial salary.


Income limits on SSI and SSDI are the same

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), 69.1 million Americans received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 2019.

If you’re one of those Americans and you’re now earning more than $1,350 a month, you could lose your current benefits.

Indeed, Social Security defines substantial earnings, or substantial gainful activity (SGA), as earning more than $1,350 per month.

What are SSI and SSDI?

SSI makes cash assistance payments to elderly, blind, and disabled people who have limited income and resources.

The federal government funds SSI from general taxes.

SSDI, on the other hand, provides benefits to disabled or blind people who are insured by workers’ social security contributions, like most workers.

These workers’ contributions are also known as the social security tax paid on workers’ earnings.

Can you work while receiving SSI or SSDI?

You can work and collect SSI or SSDI at the same time, but the income you earn each month will be deducted from your monthly benefits.

If you are receiving SSI or SSDI benefits, you must report any earned income to the SSA.

If you do not report earnings from work performed, you may be overpaid by the SSA, in which case you may owe money.

If you are working, how much money will be withheld from your SSI or SSDI check?

If you work while receiving either benefit, SSA does not consider the first $65 you earn, plus half of your remaining monthly earnings.

As an example, suppose you receive monthly SSI checks for $841, the maximum monthly SSI benefit from 2022.

If you earn $65 or less in any given month from your salary, you will still receive your regular check for $841.

Alternatively, suppose you receive SSI and earn $165 in salary.

In this case, the SSA would ignore the first $65, leaving you with $100 of earned income.

Before deducting this amount from your monthly benefit, the SSA would divide your income by two.

Therefore, the total amount to be withdrawn from your SSI check would be $50, leaving you with $791.

When will Social Security reduce your pay check?

You can expect there to be a delay between reporting your wages and Social Security processing the changes.

It usually takes two months for the SSA to reduce a person’s check after receiving their updated salary information.

Updates are rarely seen in the first month.

When will the SSA end your benefits?

If you get SSI or SSDI because you are disabled, Social Security has determined that you are unable to work.

If you enroll in SGA, Social Security may determine that you are no longer eligible for assistance and terminate your benefits.

Your benefits will end when your income exceeds the SGA level.

Is SSDI ever treated differently than SSI?

SSDI and SSI have the same earnings caps, but SSDI is a little different when it comes to work incentives.

Social Security work incentives are intended to help SSDI and SSI recipients re-enter the workforce without immediately losing their benefits.

In addition to work incentive programs, SSDI recipients are given a trial period of up to nine months to test their ability to work.

The trial months can be spread over five years, and during these months SSDI recipients can enjoy all of their benefits.

The trial period basically gets rid of the income cap.

How do I report my income to Social Security?

The best way to report your earnings is to keep copies of each pay stub.

If you are filing your pay stub at your local Social Security office, it is recommended that you have them stamp your copy as proof of filing.

The SSA also advises those who get SSI or SSDI to make a second copy of their earned wages for their personal records.

The Sun also reveals the four things to know about the Social Security tax.

Plus, the five things you need to do before claiming Social Security.

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About Antoine L. Cassell

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