How Much Can You Earn And Keep Your Social Security Disability?

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability because of being unable to work due to an illness or injury, you may be curious about the income limits. To qualify for benefits, you must have done enough work at your job by earning work credits that are based on salary and the how long you have worked. Additionally, your disability must be severe enough to interfere with your ability to do your job. To find out how much income you are allowed to earn and still qualify for (and keep) your social security disability benefits, read on.

It stands to reason that this program limits the income you can earn, since your inability to continue working at your job is the main qualifier for benefits. There are not, however, any limits on what property income you have, unlike the SSA's other program aimed at disabled people, the Supplemental Security Disability program.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

To initially qualify under the income guidelines for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you must show that you are earning less than $1.090.00 per month, or $1,820.00 for the blind. This amount is based on the average cost of living and sometimes changes from year to year. Once you have been approved for SSDI, you cannot exceed that amount of income in a month. Substantial gainful activity is the work you were doing before you became disabled. If the SSA suspects that you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, you may lose your benefits.

However, you can still lose your benefits while earning income that falls below the SGA amount as stated above. For example, you may be able to find a part-time job doing very similar work to your previous job before you were disabled. The Social Security Administration could very well find that you are able to do SGA, and discontinue your benefits.

On the other hand, if you are able to find a job earning less than SGA, you may still be able to keep your benefits if the job is different than your previous job. For example, if you are unable to stand and walk due to illness, you may still be able to do seated light assembly work. The SSA would not consider that SGA and you would likely be able to continue receiving benefits. All income must be reported to the SSA, even if it is less than the SGA level.

The Social Security Administration has complex and sometimes very confusing rules about income and substantial gainful activity. If you have questions about qualifying for SSDI or about keeping your benefits once approved, consult with a Social Security attorney for more information.  For more information on disability claims, contact an attorney like Bruce K Billman.