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Disability Lawyer > Blog > Social Security Disability > More Commonly Asked Questions About SSDI Benefits

More Commonly Asked Questions About SSDI Benefits


We have discussed some commonly asked questions about Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, or SSDI benefits, and we want to go through additional questions we commonly receive. Beyond information about how the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability, how SSDI benefits are different from SSI benefits, and what information must be included in an application for SSDI benefits, the following are more questions our national Social Security disability benefits lawyers commonly receive about SSDI benefits.

Q: Is there an SSDI Benefits Waiting Period Before I will Receive My First Payment? 

A: Once you apply for benefits and the SSA says you are disabled and eligible, you will typically need to wait five months before your benefit payments can begin. There are some exceptions, however. Persons whose disability results from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can begin receiving payments immediately.  

Q: How Does the SSA Define Substantial Gainful Activity? 

A: As you know, one element of the SSA’s definition of a disability is that the person cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least one year (or that the person’s disability is expected to result in death). But how does the SSA define substantial gainful activity? According to the Social Security Administration, it is necessary to break down the words “substantial” and “gainful” to obtain the overall meaning of the term. The SSA says that work is defined as substantial if “it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both.” Then, the SSA says that work is defined as gainful if it is “performed for pay or profit,” or is “of a nature generally performed for pay or profit,” or is “intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.”

Q: Can I Work at All if I Am Receiving SSDI Benefits? 

A: For many people receiving SSDI benefits, it is possible to work in some capacity and to earn some income in addition to continuing to receive SSDI benefits. Generally speaking, you can use the SSA’s trial work period. According to the SSA, the trial work period allows a person receiving SSDI benefits to test out his or her ability to return to work at least nine months. During this period, you will need to report your earnings and you will still need to have the SSA’s definition of a disability, but you will continue to receive full SSDI benefits as long as you meet those requirements. The trial work period begins once a person is earning more than $940 per month or working more than 80 hours per week.

Even after the trial work period, you may be able to continue working for an additional 36 months through the SSA’s extended period of eligibility if your earnings do not become “substantial.” The SSA defines substantial earnings as those over $1,310 per month.

Contact Our National SSDI Benefits Attorneys Today 

If you have additional questions about SSDI benefits or need assistance with your claim, one of the dedicated national SSDI benefits lawyers at our firm can begin working with you today. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz to learn more about how we can assist you.



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