The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program assists disabled individuals who cannot work to earn significant pay. Still, for many SSDI recipients, a limited amount of work could help pay the bills and keep up a healthy social routine.
If you have recently begun receiving SSDI, you may find yourself wondering: Can you work while continuing to receive these benefits? The answer to this question is yes, to an extent.
Generally speaking, you cannot perform what the Social Security Administration terms “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) and continue to receive SSDI. SGA refers to the amount of money you earn per month. In 2020, the SGA limit was $2,110 for statutorily blind individuals and $1,260 for non-blind individuals. For example, to qualify as a non-blind recipient of SSDI, you must earn less than $1,260 each month.
However, there are exceptions to this rule that allow you to test your ability to work on a more high-paying basis. The SSA wants to encourage SSDI recipients to go back to work if they are able. There are mechanisms in place to let recipients try working for more money without forfeiting their benefits – namely, the trial work period and the extended period of eligibility.
What the “Trial-Work Period” Means
The trial work period is a nine-month period during which an SSDI recipient can earn more than the SGA limit and still receive disability benefits. This is meant to incentivize recipients’ attempts to return to work while retaining the safety net of SSDI.
In 2020, monthly earnings of $910 or more would trigger a recipient’s trial work period. This period can be nine consecutive months, or it can be nine non-consecutive months within a span of five years.
Whether a month counts toward the trial work period depends on the amount of pay earned that month. For instance, if you make $5,000 in March, $200 in April, and $4,000 in May, only the months of March and May will count toward your trial work period.
The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)
Even after you max out your trial work period, you could still be eligible to receive SSDI during the extended period of eligibility (EPE). The EPE begins immediately following the end of the trial work period and lasts for 36 consecutive months.
During the EPE, the SSA will evaluate your case for disability benefits on a month-to-month basis. If you earn less than the SGA amount in a given month, you will receive your benefits for that month. If you earn more, you won’t receive the benefits. The SSA will then review your situation again the following month, and each month thereafter until the end of the EPE.
Contact the SSI & SSDI Lawyers from Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons for a Free Consultation
If you have questions or concerns about your SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) status, Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons can help. Our Oklahoma City disability insurance attorneys have decades of experience in navigating the SSA. Partner Philip Ryan has even authored a book on making successful Social Security disability claims.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons for assistance with your SSI or SSDI claim.
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