How Much Money Can You Make on Social Security Disability?

Being disabled can be expensive. 

The great news is that Social Security Insurance (SSDI) benefits have risen by 8.7 percent. We at Marken Law will explore how much money you can make on SSDI benefits this 2023.

This year, you can make up to $1,430 (or $2,60 if you’re blind) monthly on SSDI. If you make more money than that, the SSA (Social Security Administration) will identify you as having Substantial Gainful Activity.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity, and How Does it Affect Your SSDI Benefits?

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is the limit for SSDI. SSA will identify you to have SGA if you earn more than $1,430 (or $2,60 for the visually impaired) monthly. This limit means SSA has marked you as independent enough to make a living without needing benefits. 

How Much Money Can You Earn on SSDI?

Now that we have clarified how much you can make with SSDI let us answer how much you can earn.

The SGA does not include income streams that are not directly from employment. These income streams include investments, your spouse’s income, and other assets. 

For example, you earn below $1,470 as a contractual freelancer with a disability. But you have added financial support from your monthly dividends. SSA will not count those dividends. They will only consider your wages as a contractual freelancer. They will then qualify you for SSDI benefits. 

Can You Still Receive my SSDI Benefits if my Income Surpasses the SGA?

Yes, you can still receive your SSDI benefits within a Trial Work Period. This period is the first nine mounts you earn above the SGA amount. 

The Trial Work Period only counts the months you earned above SGA. You can subtract expenses related to your disability from your earnings to determine your monthly income.

If you earned $1,500 a month and paid $35 for monthly adaptive equipment, your actual earning is $1,465. Therefore, you will not enter the Trial Work Period.

However, what if you get a raise and earn $1,600 for one month? After you pay $35 for your monthly adaptive equipment, you will still have $1,565. That is more than the SGA limit. Your income then counts as one month of the Trial Work period. 

But if your income drops below $1,470, it will not be counted as another month of the Trial Work Period.

If you have worked for nine months above the SGA, you will continue receiving your SSDI. However, when the trial work period ends and you still earn above the SGA, the SSA will consider you no longer disabled, and your SSDI payments will stop.

What Other Reasons Your SSDI Benefits might Stop?

There are other scenarios when your SSDI benefits discontinue. For example, some scenarios related to the age limit:

  • You reach retirement age at 66 and are eligible for social security retirement benefits instead.
  • Suppose you receive benefits as a dependent under 18 with your parents in receipts. Once you turn 18, the benefits may stop.

Another factor when your SSDI benefits may change is if you get incarcerated:

  • Your SSDI benefits will cease after 30 days of jail time if imprisoned. The good news is that it will continue a month after your release. But your case may become different if you participate in a rehabilitation program.
  • If convicted of a felony but not incarcerated, your SSDI may cancel. 
  • If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, your benefits may continue unless you are imprisoned for 30 days or more.

How can You Maintain Your SSDI Benefits?

To maintain your SSDI benefits, always maintain contact with the SSA and your doctor. Having as many regular checkups with your doctor as possible will help confirm that you still have a disability. In addition, maintaining contact with the SSA and notifying them of any changes to your circumstances will allow them to instruct you on keeping your benefits.

For example, if you get a job without notifying the SSA first, they may consider you no longer disabled. They will then schedule a re-examination of your SSDI qualifications or cancel your benefits. 

Will the Income Limit for SSDI Affect my SSI? 

While SSDI is based on disability and work credits, Social Security Income (SSI) is based on age or disability with limited income and resources.

The answer will vary from person to person. Whether you qualify for SSD and/or SSI will depend on the nature of your disability and income. We advise you to qualify and find out rather than never trying at all. But let’s look at it numerically for now.

While the income limit for SSDI is $1,470 monthly (with some income streams excluded from the SGA), it can be different for SSI.

To qualify for SSI, you must earn less than $794 monthly. For SSI, some assets may count as monthly income, and some may not. 

You are probably thinking, “If I earn below $1,470 a month but more than $794 a month, then does that mean I can keep my SSDI benefits but not my SSI benefits?”

The answer once again depends on the state of your disability and income. Try to qualify for the SSA to find out. 

Do I Qualify for SSDI and SSI Benefits?

SSDI benefits have increased by 8.7% this 2023. This is excellent news for people with disabilities who needs government support. However, it would help if you strengthened your case to qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits. An advocate can make a difference in qualifying for the benefits you need. 

Here at Marken Law, we present our clients’ cases and file the paperwork. Schedule a consultation to get the benefits you deserve.