How Much Money Can You Earn While On Social Security Disability?

Being disabled is difficult in many ways. There’s no question about that. It can be a full-time job just to seek the care you need, focus on yourself and the people you love, and accomplish the normal activities of day-to-day life that many people take for granted. Often, being disabled means that you are unable to work and earn an income as you normally would – although unfortunately, the bills often continue to come in regardless. 

While receiving Social Security Disability benefits can certainly help to ease the financial burden that disabled individuals bear, many also wonder – can I earn additional money while receiving Social Security Disability, and if so, how much? It’s an important and understandable question to ask. Fortunately, the short answer is “yes” – you can generally earn at least some additional income while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. As with any legal matter, however, various factors will affect the amount you can earn. 

Perhaps most importantly, those hoping to earn additional income while receiving disability benefits should remember that the amount you can earn will vary depending upon whether you receive SSDI and SSI benefits.

  • SSDI Benefits: Generally, to receive SSDI benefits, applicants must have a qualifying disability, and have worked a job through which they have paid into the Social Security system over a certain period of time. Those who are receiving SSDI benefits generally cannot engage in what is known as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA, for short), while they are receiving SSDI benefits. 

Usually, the Social Security Administration sets a certain income threshold (in 2022, for example, it was $1350 per month or $2,260 for those who are blind), and those who earn more than that amount can typically expect a corresponding decrease in their SSDI benefits.

  • SSI Benefits: Unlike SSDI benefits, those who receive SSI benefits generally did not work a qualifying job through which they paid into the Social Security system. Instead, a determination is usually made based on age and disability, as well as having limited income and resources. 

Unlike the case with SSDI benefits, those receiving SSI benefits will usually not be subjected to the SGA limits explained above. Those who are receiving SSI benefits can often work and earn some amount of income, provided that the income does not exceed certain limits set by the Social Security Administration – often referred to as the “federal benefit rate”. 

Certainly, legal terminology and the various methods used to calculate allowable earnings beyond monthly disability benefits can be confusing and complex. It is important to remember, however, that the good news is that generally, disabled individuals can earn some form of additional income, which will provide some measure of financial relief. 

As with any legal matter, consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced disability attorney will be essential to understanding how the law applies to your particular circumstances. 

Here For You

At The Clauson Law Firm, we understand every aspect of Social Security Disability law. We understand the process from beginning to end – whether it’s the initial application for benefits, filing an appeal, or anything in between. 

Our talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated team of attorneys understands the best legal strategies to pursue on your behalf, and we will fight tirelessly for the benefits you need and deserve. 

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