How Work Affects Supplemental Security Income

February 22, 2016
Dayes Law Firm

One of the main requirements for getting Social Security disability is that your medical condition must be so severe that you are not able to perform a substantial amount of work, which the Social Security Administration (SSA) refers to as substantial gainful activity.

Additionally, Supplemental Security Insurance is a needs-based program that requires that you do not make more than $1,130 a month. The amount and type of income you receive plays an important role in the amount of disability benefits you are able to receive.

How Work Affects Disability

The SSA will pay out up to $733 in disability benefits for the 2016 year, not including any supplement that may be provided by your state. This is called the federal benefit rate.

The amount of benefits you will receive is determined by the difference between the federal benefit rate and your countable income. Your countable income includes income earned from working, support money from friends and family, veterans benefits, unemployment benefits, and free food and living arrangements.

If you have earned income from working, the SSA will exclude the first $65 you make, along with half of the remaining amount over $65 you make per month. You can earn around $1,550 per month prior to having your disability payment brought to zero. The SSA does this to help minimize the effects that working will have on your benefits.

Work Incentives

Although the SSA will reduce your payments if you begin performing substantial amounts of work, it does encourage recipients to go back to work and offers a number of work incentives.

A Plan to Achieve Self-Support program allows you to use some of your income for work items, tuition or books.

The SSA will not include any work related costs in your countable income if you are legally blind.

Additionally, if your employer pays you more for your work because of your disability, the SSA views the overage as a subsidy and it is not part of your countable income.

Expedited Reinstatement

If you are able to work to the point that your income exceeds the disability limit amount, your disability payments will stop. However, if you suddenly cannot work again because of your medical condition, your benefits may be reinstated if you meet the SSA’s criteria.

A Social Security disability lawyer can help you appeal a denied claim for benefits. Contact Dayes Law Firm PC today for a free consultation.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.