You Can Test Out Your Ability To Work While Collecting Social Security Disability Without Losing Your Benefits
By Aaron Hotfelder, J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
Some recipients of Social Security disability insurance are hesitant to work because they’re unsure how it will affect their disability payments. While this reluctance is understandable, Social Security has special rules that allow people to continue to receive their full monthly benefit while trying out a part-time or even full-time job. Understanding these rules before seeking employment will help you make sure you’re not jeopardizing needed disability payments.
The Cost Of Living Adjustment
Each year, the SSA makes its cost of living adjustments to the amount of benefits they payout, based on increases or decreases in the cost of living during the previous year. The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that a beneficiaries ability to afford to pay for necessities is not eroded by inflation. For 2021, the SSA Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, will mean an increase in payments by 1.3 percent.
Beneficiaries will see the increased benefits starting in January of 2021 .
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How Much Money Can You Make Without Affecting Your Social Security Disability
During the trial work period, there are no limits on your earnings. During the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you usually can make no more than $1,310 a month Page 8 5 in 2021 or your benefits will stop. These amounts are known as Substantial Gainful Activity .
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Disability Benefits For Veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- medical aids or devices
What Happens If The Adult Child Gets Married
If he or she receives benefits as a disabled “adult child,” the benefits generally end if he or she gets married. However, some marriages are considered protected.
The rules vary depending on the situation. Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the benefits can continue.
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
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How Much Can You Make While Receiving Ssi
The SSI work incentives set different standards and rules around how much you can earn while receiving SSI benefits. The SSI benefits payments continue until your earnings, and other income exceed SSI income limits, which differ on a state-by-state basis. However, if SSI payments cease, Medicaid coverage usually continues if your earnings are less than your state level.
The SSI payments usually will directly correlate with the other income you have. Therefore, if your other income increases, your SSI payments will usually decrease. If SSI payments and the money earned in a job are your only income, then each month the SSI payments will only be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar you earn over $85. For example, if you earn $1,000 in a month, which came only from the SSI payments and your work earnings, then the $1,000 would first be reduced by $85, which equals $915, which would then be divided by 2. Therefore, your total SSI payment would be reduced by $457.50.
Offsetting Your Earnings With Expenses
Earning more than $1,180 per month, or $1,970 per month if you’re blind, can make you ineligible for disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration will deduct certain disability-related expenses that allow you to work from your income to lower your earnings on paper. If, for example, you’re unable to take public transportation to work because of your disability and must pay for taxis or car service instead, deducting that cost from your earnings could be enough to push you below the SGA threshold, which would help you hold on to your disability benefits while employed. Let’s say, for instance, that you earn $2,000 per month but have $900 in deductible expenses. That $900 will effectively reduce your income to $1,100, leaving you eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Remember, the Social Security Administration actually encourages those receiving disability benefits to pursue work opportunities, and has special programs in place to help make that happen. And working while collecting benefits could wind up being just as good for your health as it is for your bank account.
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What Is The Standard For Disability
Who is considered disabled for SSI or SSDI benefits?
To receive benefits under either program, you must meet the SSAs definition of disability. The term disability means that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity because of:
- A medically determinable physical or a mental impairment
- Which has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.
This standard for disability is described in the below paragraphs.
Disability for adults
In deciding whether you meet the disability requirement, SSA uses a five-step analysis:
Step one: are you working?
If you are working and performing a substantial gainful activity, then you are considered able to work. You are therefore not disabled. The SGA limit is $1,310 per month. If you earn more than $1,310 per month, you are probably not eligible, unless there are special cases. For example, you have intensive job coaching to help you work or you work at a sheltered workshop. If you are not earning significant income, proceed to step two.
Step two: do you have a severe impairment?
You must have a problem which significantly limits your ability to perform basic work activities. The impairment must be expected to last for 12 months or end in death. If you have a severe impairment, proceed to step three.
Step three: does your medical condition match one of SSAs listed impairments?
- Medical findings,
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What Happens When Your Nine
If you participate in the Trial Work Period Program , at some point you will use up your nine months of unlimited income while still receiving your full SSDI benefits. What then?
The Extended Period of Eligibility When you exhaust your nine TWP months, the SSA wants to give you the incentive to continue working if you can. The Extended Period of Eligibility is a 36-month period in which you have an income safety net.
Each month, the SSA checks your reported income to see if you exceeded the monthly income cap that is substantial gainful activity . If you do exceed the SGA level, you will continue to receive your full SSD benefit during a 3-month grace period. After that, your SSD benefit payment will be suspended for any month your income is above the SGA.
But, if during the 36-month safety net period your earnings again fall below the SGA level, your SSD benefit payments will resume for each such month.
Clauson Law has focused on representing the injured and disabled for over 10 years. We have handled thousands of cases. Each client is important to us and has a unique situation.
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The Cpp Disability Application
You have to apply for CPP disability benefits. To do this, simply complete Service Canadas application forms. Then, send them to Service Canada. They will call you for more information. They may also write to your doctor or employer to clarify things. Then, they make a decision on your application.
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How Much Can I Earn While Drawing Social Security Disability In 2019
While you cannot make over $1,220 per month to be approved for social security disability, the rules change if you are approved in terms of what you are allowed to make while drawing disability. It is expected that you are not working for a living if you are drawing benefits, but you are allowed to make money within a certain threshold. This is considered a trial work period.
For 2019, you can only early $880 per month during a trial work period while receiving social security disability benefits. If you earn less than $880, it should not trigger a trial work period and is likely acceptable.
Earning more than the $880 per month could cause your benefits to be discontinued. Since all income while drawing disability needs to be reported, earning too much will be flagged. And once your trial work period ends, it is expected that you will not continue working.
In addition, if you are working while on social security disability, your inability to work a job which has a regular wage could come into question, sparking a re-evaluation of benefits.
If you are currently on social security disability benefits and considering working to earn supplemental income, it would be a good idea to ask an attorney if it is a good idea.
If you have any questions on this topic, or need help applying or appealing a decision concerning social security disability, dont hesitate to call Tabak Law at 844-432-0114.
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The Extended Period Of Eligibility
After your nine-month trial work period expires, you begin the 36-month extended period of eligibility. During this time, you can earn less than the SGA limit and still receive your full monthly SSDI benefits.
The first month you exceed the SGA limit, the SSA no longer considers you disabled. You will get your benefits for that month and the next two months, and then benefits will stop.
If your monthly income later falls below the SGA limit again, the SSA can restart your benefits without requiring a new application if you are still within the 36-month extended period of eligibility.
How Much Can I Earn A Month While On Social Security Disability In 2020
The SSA requires that you no longer be able to work in gainful employment in order to collect Social Security disability. For 2020, that means earning no more $1,260 per month unless youre blind, in which case a higher $2,110 monthly limit applies.
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The Ssa Giveth And The Ssa Taketh Away
Getting approved for benefits had come as such a relief. James had heard horror stories of how it takes some applicants months or even years to get approved.
He qualified for benefits because his condition is permanent. It affects his speech and fine motor skills. He says those deficits, combined with the stereotypes about people with disabilities, have left him unable to secure a full-time job despite having a masters degree in instructional technology.
If you receive SSI or SSDI, did not file taxes in 2019 and did not receive a stimulus check this year, you can still use the IRS Non-Filer Tool until Nov. 21, 2020.
So James does gig work because not working at all goes against his nature. Thats not who I am, he says.
But navigating Social Securitys work-related rules is very, very frustrating.
Disability benefits experts say discrimination, confusion regarding the rules and fear of benefits being cut at any time are all too common. And thats despite the official Social Security position that people on disability should work to their fullest potential.
What Happens To Medicare Coverage During The Twp And Epe
Medicare coverage comes with SSDI benefits . It continues during the Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility. At the end of your TWP, you’ll remain covered by Medicare for another 93 months, even if you’re working and earning SGA during this time. Of course, if you remain entitled to disability benefits after the EPE ends, you will still enjoy Medicare coverage as well.
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Ssd Lawyer Explains Social Security Disability Income Limit
As Northern New Jerseys premier SSD lawyer, M.J. Ellis specializes in representing SSD and SSI applicants from preparing their claims through to the final award decision. But a great SSD law attorney is an expert at understanding the many rules and regulations involved with SSDI and SSI benefits. Questions about how your benefits work and what you can earn while on SSD benefits is a common question.
Here are the basics you need to know
- 2021 Maximum Allowable Earned Income Drawing SSD Benefits = $1,310 per month
- blind SSD benefits recipients earning limit is $2,190 per month
Is Social Security Disability Considered Income
The Social Security administration has outlined what does and doesnt count as earned income for tax purposes. While the answer is NO, disability benefits are not considered earned income, its important to know the difference between earned and unearned income and know where your benefits fit in during tax season.
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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.
The Maximum Earnings Allowed While Receiving Ssdi
Different rules about how much you can earn apply when you receive payments through the SSDI program. If you earn more than $1,310 a month in 2021, it could affect your eligibility for SSDI. The earnings maximum is $2,190 a month if you are blind. Earning more than those amounts are considered by SSA as a substantial gainful activity. The ability to engage in SGA means that you no longer meet the definition of disabled required for SSDI.
Fortunately, SSA has a program that gives you a trial work period to determine if you can work. If you notify SSA that you wish to attempt a return to work, it will treat any month that you earn over $940 as part of a nine-month trial period. Earnings from engaging in self-employment also count during a trial work period.
Earnings received during the initial nine months of a trial work period do not reduce the benefits you receive through SSDI. Your nine months do not have to be consecutive, but they must be completed within 60 months.
At the end of the nine-month trial period, you may continue to work while collecting SSDI for an additional 36 months. The SGA rules apply after the nine-month trial, so earning $1,310 a month, or $2,190 if you are blind, will affect your eligibility for SSDI.
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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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Income Limits For Ssi Disability Benefits
As you begin to work and receive an income, your disability benefits will be adjusted according to your wages. The first $85 of your income is left as-is. After that, the SSA deducts 50 cents for every dollar of income that you receive.
For example, if you made $1,250 during a particular month, the first $85 is left untouched = $1,165. From this remaining amount, 50 cents is deducted from your benefits for every dollar, therefore $1,165/2 = $582.50.
The amount of your disability benefit for that month will be reduced by $582.50. In 2017, the SSA pays up to $735 per month in benefits . Therefore, if your monthly benefit is reduced by $582.50, you will receive about $152.50 from the SSA. In other words, you can earn about $1,500 before your benefit amount is reduced to zero.
If you continue to earn enough money, your benefits could reduce to zero and your payments stopped by the SSA. If this happens, you are still eligible for the additional 5-year period where your benefits can be reinstated if your disability prevents you from working.
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