Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
Is there a Maximum I can Work and Make if I am on SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
There is a maximum and it is called SGA, which stands for substantial gainful activity. It corresponds to a specific earnings limit that is the cutoff point at which a person, based on their work activity, is no longer considered disabled. To see the current amount for this year: Social Security Disability and SSI earnings limit.
SSA uses this cutoff because decisions on whether or not a person is disabled are made based on:
A) Their physical and mental limitations and
B) How those limitations affect their ability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity, which could include--
--Either work they've done in the past (it must be relevant, however, meaning that the work must have been performed in the last 15 years for a period long enough for the individual to have learned the skills of the job and the individual must have been able to earn SGA income at the job)
--Work they've never done before but which they might possess the right skills and training to do based on their current limitations and age.
If you're filing for disability and are making the SGA amount or more, you will receive a type of disability claim denial that is a "technical denial". That means that your claim will not receive an evaluation by a disability examiner, meaning that your medical records will never enter into the picture.
In other words, if you are working and making at least this much each month, there's really not much reason to apply for disability benefits. If you stop work, or your earnings decline to below this limit, then by all means contact the social security office nearest to you to file for disability benefits.
If you are already receiving disability benefits, you will have the benefit of trial work months so that you may try work activity again. You get nine of these and in these months you can work and earn more than the SGA earnings limits. These months do not have to be consecutive either so there is some flexibility for attempting work activity and they can occur within a rolling three year, or 36 month period, which makes it even more flexible.
If, however, you are working at the SGA limit and you exhaust your nine trial work months, then your benefits would be stopped in the tenth month that you are working and earning SGA level income. Even this, though, does not mean that you will be forced to start all over again should you decide that working is not a realistic option for you, given your physical or mental issues. SSA also provides for expedited reinstatements.
The most important thing, for any SSD or SSI applicant or recipient is...to report work activity to Social Security as soon as it occurs.
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 and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria