Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits & Qualifying

Can I Still Work and Receive Disability Benefits?

Yes, you can still work and receive disability benefits, but there are limitations on this for both SSDI & SSI.

Generally speaking, SSDI recipients can’t start doing what’s considered “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) while receiving disability benefits. SGA means you are doing competitive work and making more than $1,220, pre-tax, per month in 2019 (or $2,040 if you’re blind). There are some exceptions to this rule, however.

If you are approved for SSI, you can also work and continue to receive your disability benefits as long as your wages and other resources do not exceed the SSA’s income limit for SSI ($771 per month, as of January, 2019). But, your monthly benefit amount may be reduced in proportion to your income, such that after your first $65 earned, the Social Security Administration will reduce your SSI benefit by one dollar for every two dollars you earn.

Example: Jane is receiving SSI, but is able to do a little part-time book-keeping work at home for a friend’s business. The business pays Jane $475 per month. The SSI ignores the first $65 Jane is paid, and modifies Jane’s monthly benefit based on an income of $410 per month. They reduce her benefit of by $1 for every $2 she earns – so they will reduce her benefit by $205 per month.

More information on the SSI and Working can be found here. You can also ask your disability advocate to for help understanding the fairly complex rules and regulations surrounding work and SSDI/SSI.

If you can’t work because of a chronic disease or long term injury, you may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits!

disability couple on laptop

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