For individuals with disabilities, Social Security Disability Insurance provides needed financial support. However, many wonder if they can work and still receive SSDI benefits.
Understanding the rules and guidelines surrounding employment while receiving SSDI is essential for individuals seeking to balance their financial needs with their desire to work.
Employment and SSDI
If you receive SSDI benefits, it is possible to work and earn income without automatically losing your eligibility. The Social Security Administration offers programs and incentives that encourage individuals to explore employment opportunities while still providing a safety net for those who may be unable to sustain substantial work due to their disabilities.
Trial work period
The SSA allows individuals on SSDI to engage in a trial work period to test their ability to work without jeopardizing their benefits. The trial work period begins when individuals earn over $1,050 per month. During this period, which lasts for nine months, you can work and earn any amount without affecting your SSDI eligibility. It allows you to assess your ability to work on a regular basis and earn an income while still having the security of your SSDI benefits.
Substantial gainful activity
Once the trial work period ends, the SSA uses the concept of Substantial Gainful Activity to determine if your work income affects your SSDI eligibility. SGA refers to a level of earnings that the SSA considers substantial and indicates that you are capable of working on a full-time basis.
Specified income thresholds serve as a guideline to determine if your earnings surpass the SGA limit. As of 2023, the monthly earnings limit is $1,470 for non-blind individuals and $2,460 for blind individuals.
If the SSA determines that you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, they can reduce or end your SSDI benefits. However, the SSA provides certain incentives and programs to support individuals who wish to work, such as the Extended Period of Eligibility and Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits.