Know Your Limits: Social Security Disability And Income Limits

If you are not able to work at your job because of a medical condition, you may be eligible for monthly payments from Social Security Disability (SSD). You can qualify for this program if you have worked enough and earned enough money in the past, and if your medical condition is bad enough. You should understand, however, that as long as you draw Social Security benefits, your monthly income must be reported and it will be constantly monitored. Read on to learn more about how much you can earn outside of Social Security disability and still collect benefits.

No Limits on Assets

There are two different Social Security Disability programs. The Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), is for people who have not worked enough to qualify for SSD, but there are stringent limits placed on what you own and what you can earn. The SSD system, which is for people who have paid into the system, has no limits on your assets, but does have income limits. When you take into consideration that the main qualifying criteria for these programs is the inability to work at your job, you can understand why the Social Security Administration (SSA) places these limits. If you are able to work and earn a certain amount of money, you don't need the help of the benefit programs.

Substantial Gainful Activity

While it can be extremely challenging to prove that your medical condition prevents you from working at your job, that issue is not the first qualification that the SSA looks at. Before you are considered for the medical condition qualifying section, you must first show that you are earning less than $1130 a month ($1820 for blind people). This amount is based on the cost of living, and can fluctuate on a yearly basis. You must never exceed that amount in earnings, with the exception of a special program (detailed below). The SSA refers to work done in excess of the limit as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

Additionally, the SSA limits not only your income in regard to work done, but the type of work you doing, even if it does not exceed the limit. If you are working at the same type of job that you claimed to be unable to do after you begin receiving benefits, you are considered to be preforming SGA and may be removed from the benefit program.

Trial Work Period

There is an exception to the income limits if you participate in the Trial Work Period Program (TWP). You can earn an unlimited amount of money for a limited number of months and still qualify for your normal monthly benefits.

If you are experiencing problems with getting your claim approved and are now facing an appeal hearing, contact a disability attorney for more information and assistance.