Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments are meant to be a replacement for the money you can no longer earn due to a severe illness or injury that makes it impossible for you to continue working at your job. Many people often wonder if that means they can no longer work at any type of employment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does make allowances for benefits recipients to work, however there are guidelines that must be followed.
Substantial Gainful Activity
If you receive SSDI benefits, you can no longer work at a job that is considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The SSA defines SGA as work that pays you more than $1,170 per month, or $1,920 if you are blind. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Trial work period
The SSA offers a nine-month trial work period. If you participate in this program, you are allowed to exceed the monthly income limit and not lose your SSDI benefits. Working in this program allows benefits recipients to test their ability to work but still make their full benefit amount. The SSA considers any amount of income over $840 per month to be a trial work month. If you are self-employed, any month you make at least that amount or work more than 80 hours is also considered a trial work month.
After the trial work period
Once your trial work period has been completed, you may still qualify to continue receiving benefits. You can receive benefits any month you earn less than $1,170 over the following three-year period. This time frame is known as the extended period of eligibility. During this time, you will not receive a benefit payment any month you earn over $1,170.
Reinstatement of benefits
If your income reaches the SGA level and you stop receiving SSDI benefits, they can be reinstated if you stop work for a disability-related reason within five years of your benefits cessation. During this time, you will not need to open a new application for benefits.
Loss of employment
If you lose your job during your trial work period, your benefits will not be affected. However, if you lose your job during the three-year timeframe after your trial period has ended and you are still disabled, you will need to contact the SSA to have your SSDI benefits reinstated.
If you have questions about how working affects your SSDI benefit payments, contact Clauson Law today. We are here to help you.