What Are the Maximum Earnings I Can Make While on Disability?

If you are currently receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits and would like to try to return to work, you should know what the maximum earnings that you can make are and still have your disability benefits continue. In other words, at what point will you lose your benefits because you are earning too much money?

Generally, you can't make more than $1,040 per month ($1,740 if you're blind) and still be considered disabled. This amount is the "substantial gainful activity" threshold. But you are allowed to subtract disability-related expenses from your wages before measuring it against SGA. As an example, Social Security may allow you to deduct the cost of a taxi from your monthly earnings if you must take a taxi to get to and from work because of your disability.

Also, there is a trial work period available to you to help you transition back to work with continued benefit payments while you are doing so. Social Security's Trial Work Period consists of nine months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you work and can earn any amount of money. As long as you continue to be disabled, you will still receive your full benefits. A month automatically becomes part of your Trial Work Period if you earned more than $750 dollars that month or, in the case of self-employment, if you earned that amount after your expenses were deducted or if you worked more than 80 hours that month in your own business.

Beyond the Trial Work Period, Social Security allows a 36-month "extended period of eligibility" during which you are allowed to work and receive benefits for any month where you earned money, but not over the SGA amount.

Remember, if you have any change in your employment status you are obligated to let Social Security know about the status change.

For more information, read our article on substantial gainful activity.

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