Julian has to quit working because of his panic attacks and depression. As someone who was disabled according to Social Security Administration standards, Julian was able to collect Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. However, after treatment and therapy, Julian started working part-time. At some point, Julian will have to consider whether his work-related income has become substantial gainful activity.
It Is Possible to Work While Receiving SSDI
The Social Security Administration calls it a trial work period. This is the time that a benefit recipient tests his or her ability to return to work. To continue receiving disability benefits, the individual cannot earn more than a certain amount per month. In 2018, the substantial gainful activity limit for a non-blind individual was $1,180, but that will increase to $1,220 in 2019.
Substantial gainful activity occurs when the recipient is making more than the monthly limit. However, impairment-related work expenses can be deducted from the income.
For example, Julian takes his service dog to his part-time job at the local library. Julian earns $1,500 a month working part-time, which puts him over the limit. However, he can deduct the cost of owning and maintaining his service dog. Until Julian earns more, or his medical condition improves, he probably can continue receiving SSDI benefits. However, the months where he makes more than $850 per month may count toward his 9-month trial work period.
Calculating the Substantial Gainful Activity Limit
The Social Security Administration provides limits in two basic categories: non-blind disabled workers and blind disabled workers
- The process for determining the substantial gainful activity limit for blind disabled workers is set by law. The 2019 limit is $2,040.
- The 2019 limit for all other disabled workers is $1,220.
Because Julian’s disability is caused by panic attacks, not blindness, he should be able to earn $1,220 per month in 2019 while still receiving his Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. However, after 9 months of substantial gainful activity, the SSA may discontinue benefits because Julian may no longer fit the SSA disability requirement.
Get the Benefits You Deserve When You Need Them
Julian’s current income does not exceed the substantial gainful activities limit. He will need to keep in contact with the Social Security Administration.
Your case will receive the attention and care of experienced Social Security Disability attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller. For your free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We are located in Anaheim, but we assist clients throughout Southern California.