Can You Still Work While on Social Security Disability?

Individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits can work while receiving monthly disability payments. The rules allow you to earn a small amount of income while you continue to receive disability benefits. However, the rules differ for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Disability Work Incentives

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has several work incentives in place to allow people receiving benefits to continue working. In some cases, a disabled worker can receive assistance with training, rehabilitation, and education to begin a new career. The goal is to help disabled individuals return to work or enter the workforce.

How Does Working Impact SSDI Benefits?

If you receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you can work for up to nine months while receiving your full disability payments. The trial work period lets you determine if you can return to work. 

For 2022, a trial work month is any month you earn at least $970 (the amount is adjusted annually, so always check for the most current amount). You remain in the trial work period until you earn the minimum amount for nine months during a 60-month period. 

There is also an extended period where you can work and still receive Social Security disability benefits. For 36 months, if you do not earn income in any money that is “substantial,” you can receive your benefits for that month. “Substantial” income for 2022 is $1,350 or $2,260 if you are blind. 

Additionally, there is an expedited reinstatement procedure for a period of five years if you cannot work and need to restart your SSDI benefits. You would need to be unable to work because of the condition that qualified for disability benefits under your original application. 

How Does Working Impact SSI Benefits?

The rules for working while receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are different. SSI recipients may work until their income plus their SSI benefits exceed the income limits to qualify for disability payments. 

If you work while receiving SSI benefits, your SSA reduces your benefits based on your income. The first $85 you earn as income does not count toward your countable income, provided you receive income from your job and disability benefits. 

After the first $85, the SSA deducts fifty cents from every dollar you earn. Therefore, your SSI benefits are reduced by one-half of your earns after deducting the first $85. 

If you need to restart your SSI benefits, there is an expedited reinstatement process for a period of five years in this context as well.

How Does Earning Income Impact Social Security Disability Benefits?

Your SSI benefits cease if you earn more than the income limit for benefits when you add your income and the amount of your SSI benefits. Otherwise, the SSA deducts 50 cents per dollar you earn after the first $85.

For SSDI benefits, there is no limit to the income you can earn and still draw full disability benefits for the nine-month trial period. However, during the 36-month trial period, your benefits top when you earn more than $1,350 per month (based on 2022 limits). You can deduct allowable work expenses you must pay because of your disability to determine whether you earned enough to terminate disability benefits. 

If you receive Social Security disability benefits, you are required to tell the SSA if you start or stop work. In addition, you must report your work hours and income. 

Getting Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits

You do not need to hire a Lancaster Social Security disability lawyer to apply for disability benefits. However, many people who complete and file an application without a lawyer are denied benefits. Working with a disability attorney offers several benefits.

First, an experienced lawyer is familiar with the application process, and the information SSA requires with the initial disability application. If you file an application containing errors or missing information, it can delay receiving benefits or result in a denial. A lawyer can prepare and file an application that is complete quicker than you could on your own.

An attorney also understands the SSA’s definition of a disability. Therefore, a lawyer understands how to build a solid case to prove that you meet the Administration’s definition of disabled. 

Should the SSA deny your application, having an attorney already working on your case means you have someone who can file an immediate appeal to fight for you to receive the Social Security disability benefits you need and deserve. An attorney can help arrange for specialists and witnesses to appear at a hearing to testify. Your lawyer prepares you for the hearing and represents you at the hearing, so you are not going up against an experienced SSA lawyer on your own.

Your lawyer can also advise you whether it helps or hurts your case to work while you apply for disability benefits. 

If you’ve been injured in a social security disability, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

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945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

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(717) 995-8998

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(717) 388-2325

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79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
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354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

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30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

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2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

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937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963