Can You Work and Still Draw Social Security Disability Benefits?

Yes! Sort of.

How So?

Just because you are drawing Social Security disability benefits doesn’t mean that you are completely unable to work.  The devil is in the details though.  The catch is that while you cannot work effectively full time, you can work part time as long as you do not make too much money.  How much is too much you ask?  Well, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has this concept called Substantial Gainful Activity it uses in Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) cases to determine if a recipient is making too much money to still be considered disabled.

If you recall from some of my earlier blog posts, there are essentially two different flavors of SSA disability benefits that I handle: DIB and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). DIB benefits are tied to what you have paid into the system while SSI benefits are needs based.  In this blog post I am going to focus on the impact working may have on DIB benefits only and save what impact working may have on SSI benefits for another day.

Working While Receiving DIB Benefits

For DIB recipients who are blind, the monthly work-related income limit is $1,970 for 2018.  For those receiving benefits for the rest of the disabling ailments out there it is currently $1,180 per month.  I usually advise my clients who are able to work somewhat not to get too close to these limits though, as it is easy to slip up and endanger their benefits by miscalculating how much they are actually earning.  If they do cross the line, they risk the possible termination of their monthly monetary benefit or having to pay it back through a substantial deduction in each month’s check.

That being said, the SSA does have a program designed to help people get back to work full time if they are able to without penalizing them during their attempt.  It’s called the Ticket to Work Program.  Once an applicant is accepted into the program, it essentially allows them to explore their ability to hold down a full time job and earn more than the SGA limit without forfeiting their monthly monetary benefit.  Of course, there are a raft of rules and regulations to adhere to as with any government program, but it may be worth it to see what kind of work you may be able to handle these days.

If you or your child have been denied SSA disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last for more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay in your child, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.

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