How Much Money Can You Earn Per Month on Disability Without Losing Your Disability Benefits?

Social Security provides disability insurance benefits to individuals who aren't able to earn a living through employment. If you are receiving SSDI, you can still work when you are able. However, if you earn too much money, Social Security may suspect that you are able to support yourself, and it may terminate your benefits.

Earnings Limit

Social Security will terminate your SSDI benefits if it determines that you are earning a substantial amount of money through employment. At the time of publication, Social Security considers substantial earnings to be an average of more than $1,000 per month during a year for most claimants. If you are blind, Social Security allows you to keep your benefits unless you earn more than an average of $1,640 per month during a year.

Trial Work Months

If you try to return to work, Social Security won't immediately take away your benefits. If you inform Social Security that you are returning to work, you can keep your benefits for nine trial work months. If you are an employee, a trial work is any month in which you earn more than $720. If you are self-employed, a trial work month is any month in which you work more than 80 hours. If you complete nine trial months within a period of 60 months, the trial period ends.

After the Trial Period

Once you have completed the initial trial work period, Social Security allows you a 36-month extended trial period. During this time, you will only receive benefits for months in which you earn less than $1,000. If you are blind, you can receive benefits for any month in which you earn less than $1,640. However, you can deduct work expenses related to your disability from your earnings before Social Security evaluates them.

Considerations

If you lose your job during the initial trial work period, your benefits will continue as usual. If you lose your job during the extended trial period, you must call Social Security. It will reinstate your benefits as long as you still qualify as disabled. After your earnings cause your benefits to stop completely, you will have a five-year grace period in which you can ask to have your benefits immediately reinstated if you become unable to work.

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