People receiving Social Security benefits often want to supplement their income. But does the Social Security Administration (Social Security) frown on that or allow it? Can you earn as much as you want, or are there limits? In this article, we will look at two common Social Security benefits and your ability to earn.
When Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance
This benefit, also known as SSDI, is available for people who cannot work because of a disabling physical or mental condition. Work history and work credits play a part in your eligibility. Whether you can engage in substantial gainful activity also influences you both before and after you begin receiving Social Security benefits.
Social Security considers substantial gainful activity (SGA) a certain dollar amount that is periodically adjusted. If someone can earn more than the SGA limit, Social Security generally denies benefits because they are not considered to be disabled. In 2021, the SGA amounts are:
- $1,310 for non-blind individuals, and
- $2,190 for blind individuals.
If you earn more than the SGA amount, you could be denied benefits or lose benefits you are already receiving.
However, Social Security offers some work incentives that do allow you to earn money while receiving Social Security benefits:
- Trial Work Period. You can try to return to work for nine months over a 60-month period. The months do not have to be consecutive. Generally, you can earn an unlimited amount of money for these nine months without losing benefits. However, you do need to report your income to Social Security.
- Ticket to Work. Social Security offers back-to-work assistance that allows you to earn a certain amount of money while receiving Social Security benefits. The typical goal is to return to work permanently, but this program eases you into the process.
The situation is slightly different for self-employed people. Talk to a disability attorney about your options if you are self-employed.
When Receiving SSI
Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is very different than for SSDI. The biggest issue is that SSI is a ‘needs-based’ program while SSDI is not. This means that you have to show financial need to receive SSI benefits.
For example, you can have no more than $2,000 in resources if you are single or less than $3,000 if you are married. Not all of your property is counted toward this limit. However, Social Security usually denies or terminates benefits if you exceed the limit.
Social Security also imposed an income limit. This can be a little complicated since ‘income’ also includes things like free food and shelter. Also, the income of anyone you live with can affect your ability to begin or continue receiving Social Security benefits.
It is possible to earn money while receiving SSI. However, you must stay below the monthly income limit, and some or all of your income may reduce your benefits.
Earning Money While Receiving Social Security Can Be Complicated.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients resolve SSDI and SSI issues. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.