Income and Earnings Limits

Social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to help people who are unable to work because of a disability. These payments allow people who would otherwise struggle to pay bills keep up with rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and grocery expenses. However, it is important to be aware that there are income limits associated with SSDI eligibility.

SSDI Income Limits

A person who is disabled and cannot work at all is expected to be unable to bring in an income. This is the reason that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has for putting limits on the amount of income that people who collect SSDI benefits earn.

Earning an income that is above these limits set forth by the SSA means that a person is not disabled in a way that prevents them from working. The SSA will discontinue SSDI benefit payments if a person earns more than the limit.

Substantial Gainful Activity

Activities that result in the earning of an income that is greater that the SSDI income limit is known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The federal government utilizes average consumer wage information in order to determine limits for SGA. People who earn over this limit will be disqualified for SSDI benefits.

The 2013 SGA income limit for individuals is $1,040 per month. People who are blind are subject to an income limit of $1,740 per month.

Limits on Unearned Income

Only earned income is limited for SSDI benefit purposes. A person who is able to receive an income through investments, a spouse’s income or interest on bank deposits does not have to worry about this income being counted when SSDI eligibility is being determined.

Trial Work Periods

It is possible for a person who suffers from a disability to be able to start working again when treatments are successful. However, it can be difficult to make the transition from depending on SSDI benefits to earning an income after suffering from a long-term disability. People who are able to work again may worry that they will find that they are not able to perform job tasks because they are still feeling symptoms of their disability.

The SSA allows people to return to work during a Trial Work Period without risking SSDI benefit eligibility. These individuals will continue to receive their benefits while they see if is possible and reasonable for them to work.

The nine months in the trial work period only count toward this trial period if a person has earned $750 or more during each month. People who earn over the SGA income limit for a period of nine months will still be eligible for SSDI benefits for three months after their disability status has ended. Disabled people who earn under the SGA income limit after SSDI benefits are terminated are eligible to receive these benefits again if their income falls below the limit within 36 months.

Understanding your right to earn an income while receiving SSDI benefits may be difficult. I have ten years of experience in social security cases and appeals, and am ready to fight for your benefits. Contact me today to get started on your case.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.