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Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

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How Much Income Can A Person Earn If He Draws Social Security Disability?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

Social Security disability has an income limit of sorts. If a person is drawing Social Security disability they should be concerned about their work activity and what it could suggest. When a person is drawing Social Security disability benefits they are not precluded from work activity, but all work activity has the potential to affect their eligibility for monthly disability benefits.

The controlling amount of income that affects disability eligibility most often is substantial gainful activity or SGA, as it is more commonly known. Each year Social Security determines a monthly amount of gross earnings it considers to be self-supporting. If a disability beneficiary earns above the SGA monthly amount their benefit may be suspended or even terminated.

A disability beneficiary is entitled to nine trial months in a five-year period beginning with the first month they have monthly earnings over the trial work limit (yes, there is another earnings limit that affects disability entitlement). The trial work month earnings limit is always less than the SGA limit.

While an individual has the option of having monthly earnings over the SGA limit during the trial work period, trial work months can be exhausted even if the person's earnings are under SGA, if they are at the trial work month limit or more.

Trial work months can be performed anytime during the five period and do not have to be consecutive. Once a person has used their trial work months, they have to stay below the SGA limit in order to avoid work suspensions that could cause them to be overpaid at the very least. Overpayments occur because any month a person earns SGA or more, they are not entitled to be paid for that month. Additionally, if a person performs SGA-level work activity consistently, month after month, it could lead to an eventual termination of disability benefits.

After all, the definition of Social Security disability is any medically determinable mental or physical impairment that has prevented a person from performing SGA for twelve months, is expected to prevent the performance of SGA for twelve months, or is expected to end in death. It would stand to reason that consistent performance of work activity at the SGA earnings level could lead to a finding of "medical improvement" for a Social Security disability beneficiary.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews