The Vastness of the Law

Income Matters With Social Security Disability Insurance

If you are unable to work at your job because of a medical or mental health condition, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could be of help. Those who have worked enough and who qualify medically may be paid a monthly benefit payment. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has several rules but a few rules that cause applicants problems is that of income. Read on and find out more. 

Forget Earning Income for the Time Being

Once you stop working and file for SSDI benefits, don't bother looking for work or earning any sort of income. The SSA has strict rules about earning income during this time (and going forward). When you apply for benefits, you are asked about the last day you worked at a job and earned income. That day is known as your last date of insurance (LDI) and is used to calculate your back pay.

Earning Income After Approval

Those fortunate to be approved for benefits may have an opportunity to earn income without facing a loss of benefits. If you plan to work, it's vital that you understand the rules and avoid earning too much income or doing the wrong thing to earn it. The amount you are allowed to earn can change from year to year.  As of 2022, you can earn up to $1,350 a month without losing your benefits.

However, the SSA imposes several other limitations on claimants that earn any income. The money earned and the way it is earned is known by the SSA as substantial gainful activity (SGA). The way it is earned refers to the work itself. You can violate the SGA standards by doing work that you previously claimed you could not do. That means you cannot earn any amount of money at a job that is like your previous job. For example, if you were approved for benefits because you injured your back doing warehouse work, you cannot ever earn money doing that sort of job again and still be paid benefits.

What Else to Know

When you earn income, not every dollar you earn counts toward the limits. The SSA deducts money you must use for disability-related reasons like transportation, wheelchairs, and other needs. Also not counted are your spouse's income, interest income, gifts, gambling winnings, and more.

In many cases, your road to SSDI approval is long. Many are denied their rightful benefits for various reasons. Speak to a Social Security lawyer about your appeal rights and how to be approved at the hearing.

Reach out to a social security disability attorney if you have questions about this process.