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Can You Work With SSDI?

Last updated: November 12, 2023

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that helps low-income people with disabilities receive benefits to improve their daily lives. Disabled people, however, often consider earning an income even while receiving these benefits. 

This situation is allowable, but it comes with its guidelines.

In this article, learn how much work you can do and how much you can earn while receiving SSDI benefits.

Managing Benefits While Employed

Certain situations allow people receiving SSDI benefits to test their ability to return to work and earn an income. This earned income, however, may influence the SSDI recipient's benefits.

People with disabilities must only consider their earned income in the SSDI program and not their unearned income. Benefits are not computed with dividends, interest, unemployment benefits, spousal income, or state disability payments.

However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will limit how much you can earn through working. If you want to ensure that you will be able to manage your benefits and still get back to earning an income, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Report your work to Social Security. Let them know the start and stop date for any job and any changes you may have to the hours worked and your pay scale.
  • If you've applied for SSDI benefits but have not received a decision yet, be careful about the hours you've worked and how much you earn. Remember that a disability judge must believe you are disabled so that they will grant your SSDI request.
  • You may consider applying for the Ticket to Work Program, a free and voluntary service connecting people with disabilities to career development and financial independence opportunities.
  • Work hours don't matter in looking at SSDI benefit qualifications, except for self-employed people and heads of businesses. If you're one of these people, you are allowed up to 45 hours of work per month, and you should not be the only person working for your business.
  • Suppose you are unsure of any details about Social Security. In that case, you must find an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you understand your rights and what you can and cannot do.

What Is The Expedited Reinstatement Of Benefits?

Expedited Reinstatement serves as a safety net for people who lost their eligibility for SSDI benefits after returning to work.

Expedited Reinstatement is provided when a person's disability payments cease because they were earning enough but had to stop working within five years of when the benefits stopped coming. 

In this situation, they may file an Expedited Reinstatement request, and they will have their disability benefits started again.

During the Expedited Reinstatement process, temporary cash benefits will be provided to a disabled person for up to six months. They may also be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid during the provisional benefit period.

It is notable. However, the Expedited Reinstatement comes with an evaluation process, and there is always a possibility that the request may be declined. If your application is rejected, the provisional six months you receive will not be taken back by Social Security.

How Much Can You Make While On SSDI Benefits?

If you are a recipient of SSDI, you are not allowed to do what is considered a substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA means that you are working and making more than $1,470 per month, or $2,460 if you are blind, in 2023. These amounts serve as your income limits for SSDI; the actual numbers vary yearly based on the inflation rates.

However, it is important to note that the SSA does encourage people with disabilities to go back to work. Moreover, SSDI beneficiaries can earn more than their income limits for a period of time without losing their benefits, even though there are certain SSDI income limits. 

This is called the trial work period. The trial work period spans nine months, allowing people with disabilities to test their ability to return to work. In the trial work period for 2023, Social Security will qualify for a month where a person earns more than $1,050 or a month where a self-employed person works 80 hours as a trial work month.

After nine months, a person may still receive SSDI benefits, granted that their income still falls under the SGA level. This is called the Extended Period of Eligibility, which may last up to 36 months.

In 2023, a person will receive SSDI benefits if they earn less than $1,740. However, they won't get benefits after a three-month grace period if they start earning more.

What Are Disability-Related Work Expenses?

People with disabilities encounter additional work expenses that won't be there otherwise. With that in mind, the Social Security Administration looks at these costs and deducts them into consideration for a disabled person's monthly earnings.

Some of these impairment-related work expenses include the following:

  • Transportation: These expenses include the changes you must make to your vehicle so you can drive and the cost of paying someone to drive you to and from work.
  • Attendant Care Services: These expenses include paying someone to help you get ready to work, eat meals, and prepare your clothing.
  • Medical Devices: These expenses include the cost of purchasing crutches, pacemakers, respirators, traction equipment, walkers, wheelchairs, and similar devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about working while on SSDI benefits through the answers to the most popular questions.

1. What is the most someone can make on SSDI?

In 2023, the maximum amounts a person can earn without losing their Social Security benefits are $1,470 per month or $2,460 if their disability includes blindness.

2. What can cause you to lose your Social Security disability benefits?

The SSA can take away disability benefits from an adult if sufficient proof shows that they have significant medical improvement and can return to work. In some cases, benefits are also taken once it has been medically proven that a person no longer has a disability. 

3. How long can I be on SSDI?

A person may receive Social Security Disability as long as they are categorized as disabled. The benefits may be provided until age 65 when SSDI benefits will change into Social Security retirement benefits.

Can you work with SSDI benefits?

Definitely, but with limitations. If you are qualified for the SSDI program, you should ensure you follow its guidelines, so you can continue to maximize its benefits. If you are unsure how much you are eligible for, you may always research or consult a disability lawyer to help you.

If you want to learn more about the amount of SSDI benefits you must receive, check out the Disability Help guide to calculating Social Security Disability payments.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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