Can I Work and Still Get SSDI?

Can I Work and Still Get SSDI

When you are unable to work because of a disability, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be an essential source of financial support. You may be wondering: Can I work and get SSDI? Qualifying for SSDI can be a lengthy and complicated process, and once awarded benefits, it’s important to avoid doing anything that might interfere with receiving your monthly payment. At the same time, you may also want to bring in more income. This situation can be tricky, and you don’t want to earn so much that you risk losing your SSDI benefit. Therefore, you will need to know: Can I work and still get SSDI?

How Do I Qualify for SSDI?

If you have not already been awarded SSDI, you may have questions about how program eligibility works. The first thing you will want to know is: How do I qualify for SSDI?

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, an SSDI applicant must:

  • Have worked for a certain number of years during a specific time frame (usually 5 years over a 10-year period) and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings, and
  • Have a disabling condition that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or is expected to be terminal.

The next thing you may want to know is: Can I work and still get SSDI?

What does “Substantial Gainful Activity” Mean?

When people was to know: Can I work and still get SSDI, they have to determine the amount they can earn. To qualify or maintain eligibility for SSDI, a person must be unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). What constitutes SGA depends on the person’s disability and can change according to the national average wage index.

The important thing to know about SGA is that if you exceed the SSA’s designated wage amount, you are usually considered to be engaging in SGA. Should this occur, under the SSDI rules, you may become ineligible to receive SSDI. For 2022, the SGA for a non-blind SSDI recipient is $1350 per month. For blind SSDI recipients, the amount is $2260 per month.

Are there Exceptions to the SGA Limitation?

While SSDI has SGA limitations, the program does offer an exception. The SSA has created a “trial work period” exception to the SGA rule that is intended to act as an incentive for SSDI recipients to return to work. So, to answer: Can I work and still get SSDI? In a word, yes. However, it’s important to know the program’s rules and the answer to: Can I work and get SSDI?

The SSDI “Trial Work Period”

  • The trial work period exception provides that SSDI recipients can earn more than their SGA designated amount for a limited period of time and still qualify for their benefit.

How Long is the SSDI Trial Work Period?

  • The SSDI trial work period is for nine months.
  • The nine months do not have to be consecutive and are reviewed in a rolling 60-month (5 year) period.
  • As of 2022, any month in which earnings were more than $970 is considered to be a month of services for an individual’s trial work period.
  • If an SSDI recipient earns less than $970 during a given month, their wages will not count as being part of the trial work period.
  • There is no limit on the amount of income an SSDI recipient can earn during the trial work period.

What is the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)?

After the trial work period is completed, the SSDI recipient will begin a three-year “Extended Period of Eligibility” (EPE). If you work during the EPA and earn less than $1350 in a month, you will continue to receive SSDI benefits. By contrast, if you earn above $1350 during a month, you won’t be eligible for SSDI for that month.

In addition, if the SSA finds that you have earned “substantial” income during the EPE, it may determine that your SSDI benefits should be stopped. If the SSA stops your SSDI benefits, you will have five years to reapply if your disability later prevents you from working. Therefore, answering: Can I work and still get SSDI? can be complicated.

SSDI benefits can be a critical source of support for someone with a disability. Therefore, once you have qualified for this benefit, you want to do all you can to maintain your SSDI eligibility. Knowing the answer to: Can I Work and get SSDI? is important. Depending on your circumstances, resources, and income, it may or may not be best for you to work while receiving SSDI. A knowledgeable and experienced SSDI attorney can help you evaluate your circumstances and determine how employment could potentially affect your SSDI benefit.

If you or a loved one rely on SSDI benefits, it’s essential to understand the program’s rules and requirements. It’s also important to know the answer to: Can I work and still get SSDI? By working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney, you can help ensure you have the information you need to qualify for SSDI benefits and maintain your eligibility. The dedicated disability benefits attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm P.C. understand SSDI and the program’s eligibility rules. We know how to help you qualify for and maintain eligibility for your SSDI benefits. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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