What If I Work? How Does That Affect My SSDI or SSI?

Working will affect your eligibility for both SSDI and SSI payments

A welder is welding steel on a steel roof truss. Working at height equipment. Fall arrestor device for worker with hooks for safety body harness. Worker in construction

In order to be eligible to receive either SSDI or SSI benefits, you first need to be working under the Substantial, Gainful Activity (SGA) level of $1,090 before tax. If you are working and receiving more than $1,090 per month, you are not eligible to receive disability benefits.


If you are working and receiving under $1,090 per month (pre tax), your SSDI payments will not be affected. (See Ticket to Work program, below).

However, ANY income you receive will affect your SSI payments. SSI is a needs based program, and certain requirements apply. Any income you receive (in-cash or in-kind) will be subtracted from the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) you receive per month, which for 2015 is $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible couple.

If your only forms of income are your earnings through work and your SSI benefits, SSA will allow you to work under the SGA level of $1,090 (pre tax) per month and receive reduced SSI payments. SSA will not count the first $85 of your monthly earnings against you. This amount will be subtracted from your total monthly income and the remaining income will be divided in half and subtracted from your SSI monthly payment.

For example:

If you receive $1,000 in earned income, $85 will immediately be subtracted leaving you with $915 in countable earnings. $915 will be divided in half to equal $457.50. $457.50 will then be subtracted from your monthly SSI payment of $733, leaving you with $275.50. You will receive your earned income of $1000 plus your reduced SSI payment of $275.50, leaving you with a total of $1,275.50.

Ticket to Work

Social Security has created the Ticket to Work program, available to anyone receiving disability benefits. This is a trial work period to test your ability to work for up to 9 months. The trial work period ends when you have earned over $780 per month for 9 months in a 60 month (5 year) period. These months do not need to be consecutive. After your trial period has ended, you have 36 additional months (3 years) to work under the Substantial, Gainful Activity level of $1,090 (before tax) per month.

It is critical to remember

In any one month you earn over the SGA level of $1,090 pre tax, you become ineligible to receive disability benefits.

*Earning over the SGA level will result in the discontinuation of your benefits. Be sure you monitor the amount you are receiving throughout your employment and update SSA with any changes.*

For more information on how working may affect your eligibility to receive Social Security Disability benefits, contact us now. We have educated representatives waiting to assist you.

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