Can I Work and Receive Disability Benefits?

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are in the process of applying for disability, you might have a number of questions. One of these, as a disability lawyer might explain, is whether you can continue to work  and receive disability benefits?

Understanding Work and Disability Benefits

If you have been diagnosed with a disability, and are no longer able to work, you may receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. These benefits are meant to help you cover the costs of your living expenses and medical bills. 

Many people think they have to quit their job, or cannot work at all, in order to qualify for disability benefits. This is not true. If you decide to leave your job while applying for benefits, the Social Security Administration will require you to prove the decision was a direct result of the disability and not as a way to reduce your income so you qualify for benefits. 

There Are Income Limits

If your benefits will be based on Social Security Disability Insurance, which are based on how much you pay in annual taxes and your work history, your work limits will then be determined by your SGA, or substantial gainful activity. This is considered to be any work that brings in income – as determined by the Social Security Administration. This work shows you are able to compete in the national economy and not disabled. As of 2020, the income limits are:

  • $2,110 per month if blind
  • $1,260 per month if not blind

If you are seeking disability benefits under Supplemental Security Income, these benefits are based on financial need. You can work, but the amount you can work is based on the current federal benefit rate. As of 2020, this is:

  • $783 for singles
  • $1175 for couples

As a disability lawyer might tell you, not all wages are counted towards the federal benefit rate. In general, it is possible to make over the above amounts. To do this, you must know what counts towards the limit and what does not. 

Other Considerations

Just because you might make a low wage doesn’t mean you cannot work. If you work under the limits above, the Social Security Administration will review your current work to see whether or not you can actually receive benefits. For example, if you are a volunteer at a position that requires laborious activity, the SSA might consider you able to work even though you are under the limit. On the other hand, you might work at a high paying job that accommodates your needs, yet the SSA decides you should not be working, and rather receive benefits. In addition to SSA benefits, all states, but eight, offer additional supplements that can assist you. These financial supplements can vary between $10 and $400 per month. Finally, there are hourly limits. Self-employed individuals or freelancers who become disabled cannot work more than 45 hours per month. 

If you would like to know more about disability benefits, or you believe you qualify, but have been denied, please call a disability lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt