Am I Allowed To Do Any Kind Of Paid Work If I Am Receiving SSDI Benefits?
If you are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, or you are in the process of applying for SSDI benefits, you may know that eligibility for benefits requires you to show that you have a disability according to the definition that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses. That definition of a disability involves proving, based on medical evidence, that you have a medical condition — an injury, or a disease or illness — that prevents you from engaging in any type of substantial gainful activity (SGA) for 12 months or longer, or that is expected to result in your death. Accordingly, if you have met this definition, then you have been able to prove that you cannot engage in SGA or that your condition is likely to result in your death. Under these circumstances, you may be wondering if you are allowed to do any kind of paid work at all.
In other words, if you are eligible for SSDI, are you permitted to do any type of work for money? The short answer is that you can earn some money, but only a limited amount. If you are working, you also must report any income to the Social Security Administration. Our national disability benefits lawyers can explain in more detail.
Earnings That Trigger the Trial Work Period
The amount of monthly income that triggers the trial work period will depend on the year you are working. For 2022, the amount of monthly income that triggers the trial work period is $970 per month. Once you earn that amount or more in 2022, the trial work period will be triggered. For 2023, the monthly amount of earnings that triggers the trial work period is $1,050. Earning that amount or more will trigger the trial work period. Otherwise, if you earn below one of those amounts (based on the year), then you can work and earn that money without needing to enter into the trial work period.
It is important to be clear that the amount of earnings that triggers the trial work period and the amount that the Social Security Administration considers to constitute “SGA” are different amounts (and the SGA amount is higher). We will clarify more below.
SSDI Recipients Often Will Need to Enter Into a Trial Work Period
In order to earn an income at or above the amounts listed, you will need to enter into a trial work period. Typically, an SSDI recipient can enter into a trial work period for 36 months to determine whether they may be eligible to return to work. During the trial work period, they can earn more than the amount that triggers the trial work period (identified above) but cannot earn more than the amount that constitutes SGA. Depending upon the person’s individual circumstances, it may be possible to extend the trial work period. During a trial work period, the SSDI recipient will continue to receive Social Security disability benefits.
What are the amounts that a person can earn during a trial work period? The monthly substantial gainful activity amounts depend upon the disability and the year:
- In 2022, a blind SSDI recipient’s SGA is $2,260;
- In 2022, a non-blind SSDI recipient’s SGA is $1,350;
- In 2023, a blind SSDI recipient’s SGA is $2,460; and
- In 2023, a non-blind SSDI recipient’s SGA is $1,470.
Contact a National Disability Benefits Attorney
If you have questions about working while receiving SSDI benefits, you should reach out to one of the experienced national disability benefits attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz.