How to Earn Extra Money & Keep Your Disability Benefits

Work expenses related to your disability can be deducted from your income.

While on disability, it's still possible to earn income on the side without losing your disability benefits completely. The Social Security Administration agency even has a trial work period program in place to help transition disabled individuals back into the workforce. Under this program, you are allowed to make limitless income during the first nine months. After the initial nine-month trial period has ended, for the next 36 months, you'll receive your disability checks any months in which you make under $1,000.


Step 1

Work for cash. You are required by law to report any income you make to the Social Security Administration Agency, but many people manage to still make some additional money on the side. For example, babysitting for a family member every once in a while or making a few dollars here and there from a hobby is considered acceptable. Just don't go overboard and expect to work a full time job for cash and still collect disability because that would be considered fraud.

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Step 2

Sell some of your assets. For disability purposes, you're only required to report income that you earned from work. This means that any money you receive from selling your assets is exempt and won't count against your collecting benefits.


Step 3

Invest your money. When you invest your money, you earn through interest and dividends. Because you aren't acquiring these amounts through employment, these are also exempt and won't affect your disability.

Step 4

Obtain a regular job. While on disability, you're allowed a transitional period to allow you to get back to work. For the first nine months, you're allowed to earn any amount without it affecting your disability checks. After that, for the next 36 months, you'll still be entitled to your check any months where you don't make over $1,000. In addition, you can claim qualified expenses that you can deduct off of your income if you have to spend money on accommodations that a non-disabled person wouldn't have to pay to perform the same job.