Generally speaking, a person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is not capable of performing substantial gainful activity, and therefore unable to work. However, the Social Security Administration has enacted special rules that do allow limited exceptions for people to work and maintain their SSDI benefits. At Harbison & Kavanagh, we understand the intricacies of these complex rules and can help you determine whether you can maintain your SSDI benefits and still work.
Substantial Gainful Activity
When initially qualifying for the SSDI program, the main determining factor is whether the applicant is able to perform substantial gainful activity at work. If not, they may qualify for benefits. Substantial gainful activity is defined by the Social Security Administration as performing a work activity and making at least $1,180 per month in wages or self-employed salary. If you start working again after receiving SSDI benefits your benefits may be revoked; however, there are some exceptions to this blanket rule that allow for a person to work and continue to receive their benefits.
Trial Work Months
SSDI program members are allowed to test their ability to return to work and still maintain their benefits through a trial work period. The trial work period lasts for nine months, and a person can even make more than the $1,180 substantial gainful activity limit and still maintain their benefits. In 2018, the Social Security Administration considers any month where a person earns $850 or more a trial work month, or if that person is self-employed, a month where they work for eighty hours or more.
Extended Period of Eligibility
One the nine month trial work months are completed a person can still work and maintain their SSDI benefits through an extended period of eligibility. This period of eligibility lasts for thirty-six months and allows a person who received SSDI benefits to continue to receive them and work earnings during for any month where their wages fall below the substantial gainful activity level. For example, if a person was receiving SSDI benefits and returned to work making $1,000 per month, they would receive those wages and their SSDI benefits during the extended period of eligibility.
If you would like to try and return to work but still maintain your SSDI benefits, it is important that you report the following to the Social Security Administration:
- Start and end dates for any job
- Any changes in duties, pay scale, or hours worked
- Whether you incur any work-related expenses as a result of your disability
Monthly wages must be reported to the Social Security Administration, either by phone, mail, or paystub. You can also fulfill your reporting requirements online through your Social Security account. If you fail to report or misreport your wages, the Social Security Administration may revoke your SSDI benefits.
Contact Us Now
If you have questions about maintaining your SSDI benefits while working or any other issues with Social Security Disability Insurance in the Richmond area our lawyers are here to help. Call the office or contact us today at Harbison & Kavanagh to schedule a consultation of your claims now.