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Disability Lawyer > Blog > Social Security Disability > Do I Earn Too Much to Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Do I Earn Too Much to Qualify for Social Security Disability?


If you are planning to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or you have already applied and are waiting to what back from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may be wondering if your eligibility for disability payments will be impacted by the amount of money you earned while you were still working. In other words, you may be concerned about the following question: did I earn too much to qualify for Social Security disability payments, or do I currently earn too much to qualify? You should know that your eligibility for SSDI has nothing to do with the amount of your earnings, but rather with the amount of time you worked and the resulting credits earned. With SSI, however, these benefits are based on your resources.

Our national disability benefits lawyers can explain in more detail, and we can talk with you today if you require assistance with your Social Security disability application.

Your SSDI Eligibility is Not Limited by Past Higher Income 

You should know that your eligibility to receive SSDI benefits — separate and distinct from SSI benefits — is not based on the amount of income you earned while you were working before your disability diagnosis. Any references to lower incomes or limited assets and disability eligibility are references to SSI benefits, which we will explain below.

Rather than considering the amount of your income for SSDI benefits, the SSA will consider the following for eligibility purposes:

  • Whether you have a disability as the SSA defines it; and
  • Whether you have worked enough hours, for enough years, to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

The amount of your benefits will be based on your income while you were working, but eligibility is not based on income. To be clear, whether you earned a low wage or a very high wage, you can be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Working While Receiving SSDI Benefits Can Impact Continuing Eligibility 

While the amount of money you earned prior to your disability does not have a bearing on your eligibility for SSDI benefits, your eligibility can be impacted if you return to work in any capacity while you are receiving SSDI payments. The income limits increase each year, but if you earn more than the stated amount that constitutes substantial gainful activity (SGA), you may not be able to continue receiving SSDI payments.

SSI Eligibility is Based on Income and Assets 

Unlike SSDI eligibility, you should know that SSI is based on the amount of assets or resources you have when you apply, and limited resources allow you to continue receiving SSI payments. Accordingly, if you earned a significant amount of money prior to your disability and do not have limited resources according to the SSA, you are unlikely to be eligible to receive SSI payments.

Contact a National Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney Today 

Do you have any questions about Social Security disability and your eligibility for benefits? You should get in touch with one of the experienced national SSDI benefits lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz as soon as you can. Contact us today for assistance.



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