Can you work while on disability? Here is everything you need to know about working while on Social Security and how it affects your benefits.
If you’re receiving or planning to apply for disability benefits, you may be curious about your ability to work while receiving these benefits. Luckily, the Social Security Administration offers multiple programs to aid individuals who wish to work while receiving benefits. Keep reading to learn about these programs and their restrictions on working while also receiving Social Security Benefits.
Can You Work While on Disability?
Some programs are explained in depth below, allowing you to work limited hours while on disability. However, it is not usually possible to work full-time and receive disability benefits, so there are limits to the amount of work while you are on disability.
Can You Work While Applying for Disability?
If you’re waiting to find out if you qualify for disability benefits, it’s still possible to keep working. However, any earnings from employment may jeopardize your eligibility. Keep in mind that both Social Security Disability programs are intended for individuals who are unable to work or perform significant gainful activity due to their disability and its effects.
Can You Lose Disability Benefits When You Work?
Yes, you can potentially lose your disability benefits when you start to work again. However, depending on which Social Security program you are on- Social Security Disability Income or Social Security Income, different rules apply to you. Keep reading to learn more about the rules that apply to your specific situation.
How Many Hours Can You Work on SSDI?
While in the trial work period, you can earn an unlimited amount without affecting your benefits. However, during the 36-month extended period of eligibility, the limit on your monthly earnings is generally $1,470 ($2,460 if you’re visually impaired) in 2023. If you earn more than this, your benefits may be discontinued.
How Many Hours Can You Work on SSI?
The Social Security Administration does not count the first $85 of earned income plus one–half of the amount over $85. Then, the Social Security Administration reduces your SSI benefit to only $1 for every $2 you earn over $85.
If you’re younger than full retirement age, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full Social Security benefits. If you’re younger than full retirement age during all of 2023, we must deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $21,240.
Social Security Work Incentives
SSDI and SSI Work Incentives
- Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) – Former beneficiaries of SSDI and SSI may be eligible to resume disability payments quickly if their medical condition forces them to stop or reduce work activity again using the Expedited Reinstatement work incentive.
- Subsidies and Special Conditions – Work-related support that may lead to receiving more pay than the actual value of services performed. When evaluating if you are performing substantial gainful activity, the Social Security Administration reduces your earnings by the value of these subsidies and special conditions.
- Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE) – Impairment Related Work Expenses are costs for items or services you need to work because of your disability. Social Security will deduct the costs of an IRWE from your countable income when determining your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
- Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) – PASS lets a disabled individual set aside money and things they own to pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific work goal. A PASS can include supplies to start a business, school expenses, equipment and tools, transportation, uniforms, and other necessary items or services to reach your employment goal.
SSDI Work Incentives
- Trial Work Period (TWP) – TWP allows beneficiaries to test their ability to work for at least nine months without affecting benefits. During the TWP, beneficiaries receive full benefits, regardless of their earnings amount.
- Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) – EPE is three years (36 months) of protection of your eligibility to receive a Title II payment. It begins the month after your Trial Work Period ends and continues whether you are working or not working.
- Continuation of Medicare Coverage – The Extended Period of Medicare Coverage (EPMC) provision would allow most beneficiaries who meet the Social Security disability standard to continue Medicare coverage for at least 93 months after the Trial Work Period ends, even if cash benefits ceased due to Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level employment.
SSI Work Incentives
- Ticket to Work Program – Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket program offers beneficiaries with disabilities access to meaningful employment with the assistance of Ticket to Work employment service providers called Employment Networks (EN).
- Blind Work Expenses – Blind Work Expenses (BWE) are the costs that blind individuals incur to work. Individuals are eligible to receive blind work expense deductions if they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they are blind and earn income with Impairment Related Work Expenses.
- Student Earned-Income Exclusion (SEIE) – The student-earned income exclusion (SEIE) is a work incentive that allows specific SSI recipients under age 22 and regularly attending school to exclude a specified amount of gross earned income per month up to a maximum annual exclusion.
Also Read: My SSI Benefits Stopped: What to Do Now?
How to Report Work to Social Security
You may call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. Alternatively, you may visit, or write your local Social Security office. Social Security also offers a toll-free automated wage reporting telephone system and a mobile wage reporting application.
What Work Changes to Report: It is essential to report any changes in your work status to the Social Security Administration as soon as they happen. Essential aspects of your work to report to the Administration include:
- The start and stop date for any job
- Any changes to duties, pay, or hours worked
- Any work-related expenses you paid because of your disability
Need Help Understanding Your Benefits? Call Us!
The attorneys at Evans Disability have years of combined experience and knowledge of solving Social Security Disability issues. Call (855) 360-1010 for a free consultation.
Working While on Disability FAQ
What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?
The term “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) describes a level of work activity and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. “Gainful” employment is work performed for pay or profit. Each year, the amount of SGA changes. For 2023, the SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals is $2460. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2023 is $1470.
What Are Social Security Work Credits?
When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn up to a maximum of four “credits” for each year. In order to retire or to qualify for Social Security Disability Income, you will need a certain amount of earned work credits to qualify for benefits.
What Is the Trial Work Period for SSDI?
SSDI recipients are entitled to a nine-month trial work period without risking their eligibility for SSDI benefits during a 60-month rolling period. There is no limit on the income earned during the trial work period.
How Long Do You Have to Work to Get Social Security?
You need at least ten years of work (40 credits) to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. Although the Social Security Administration bases the amount of your benefits on your highest 35 years of earnings.